Corruption occurs in all sectors of the community, as it takes place in the private sector as well as among employees of public sector institutions, such as the SAPS. Corruption is a serious offence known by all police officials as unlawful, illegal and will result in dismissal from the police service if an official is found guilty of this crime. Regardless of this knowledge, corruption is still committed by police officials. The corrupt activities committed by police officials threaten the impartiality, just and fair treatment of the communities which is required from policing. The communities will begin to lose trust in the police as law enforcers and this will result in damaging the image of the police even further (Rajin 2017:16).
Once the image of the police is blemished by corruption, the public who are the clients of the police will be afraid to report activities of offenders as well as other crimes. The men and women in blue are the servants of the community, employed to be the protectors of the community and the nation. Besides the communities losing trust, corruption will lead to the offenders gaining the upper hand to commit more crime and render communities even more unsafe (Rajin 2017:16).
“Rotten apples, rotten trees and rotten orchards”; are terms often used to describe the unfolding of corruption occurring in law enforcement agencies and in organisations; by Senior Management, in order to defend the corruption allegations levelled against them. Senior management refers to corrupt police officials as “rotten apples”. The few “rotten apples”, if left unmonitored, ultimately infest the entire organisation. They abuse their power; commit bribery and get involved in dishonest secret deals to perpetuate grand corruption. Corruption, if allowed to continue, will spread throughout the organisation, fermenting and becoming an epidemic until it leads to the growth of “rotten trees” and eventually a “rotten apple” orchard’. To eradicate corruption remains a mammoth task within most state departments and parastatals. Many people believe that the solution to the ever increasing cost of living and desired ostentatious lifestyles is their vision of committing corruption to satisfy their desires (Rajin 2017:15)
When someone complains to the senior management of the SAPS that a police officer allegedly took a bribe, the process begins with a detailed statement. The statement must contain witnesses’ names, facts and all elements of the crime to strengthen the case. The process of taking statements and investigating the docket is slow and often people get fed up with the system and subsequently drop the case. Joubert (2015) states that the mentioned procedure contains fixed elements for the case to be proved in court. To monitor the intelligence of a report that police officials are extorting money, screening of bank accounts and telephone records have to be done to make linkages with the criminals and this makes the process longer . To obtain the authority to access the mentioned documents an application must be given under oath to a Judge of the High Court. Before the authority to access bank accounts is granted, the application will be properly scrutinised by the courts. To set a trap is another activity which is cumbersome and time-consuming, because police officials must be caught red-handed with the money. Only when they are found in possession of the money the case against them becomes strong and the conviction of the police officials will be inevitable. The regulated guidelines on the process of acquiring authority to access information is clearly stated in Section 252A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (South Africa 1977).
Defining Police Corruption
In order to understand police corruption, one has to know what corruption is. Unfortunately, there is no single definition of corruption, and the legal definition of corruption varies from country to country. Furthermore, some countries may not even define some types of corruption as crime, such as bribery, which is defined as a criminal act by most of the countries across the world (Ivkovic 2003:595). Transparency international, which is an international non-governmental organization addressing corruption, defines the corruption as “the misuse of entrusted power for private gain” (www.transparency.org). Punch (2000:301-24) defines corruption as “taking something (usually but not exclusively bribe), against your duty to do or not to do something, as an exchange for money or gifts from an external corrupter”. According to McMullan a public official is corrupt “if he accepts money or money’s worth for doing something that he is under a duty to do anyway, that he is under a duty not to do, or to exercise a legitimate discretion for improper reasons” (as cited in Withraw & Dailey 2004:160). It is obvious that government officials who have greater discretion regarding their position would have more opportunity to engage in corruption (Gorta 1998:67-87). Because of the nature of police work, police have more discretion when compared to other government officials. This broader discretion raises the risk of engaging in corruption for police officers.
Ivkovic’s (2005) corruption definition differs slightly from the definitions based on violations of legal rules, which are jurisdiction-bound and specific. Her definition does not address the legality of an action, but includes two main elements: misuse of official position and personal gain. Her definition of police corruption is as follows:
Police corruption is an action or omission, a promise of action or omission, or an attempted action or omission, committed by a police officer or a group of police officers, characterized by the police officer’s misuse of the official position, motivated in significant part by the achievement of personal gain (2005:16).
Corruption of Authority
If the officer is receiving unauthorized or unearned material gain based on his or her authority, this is defined as corruption of authority. Arrigo and Claussen (2003:272-290) state “corruption of authority encompasses the receipt of unauthorized and unearned material benefits given to an individual simply because he or she is a law enforcement agent”(p.275). These unearned and unauthorized gains may include such things as receiving free meals, sex, liquor, services, free entertainment admissions, or police discounts on merchandise (Roebuck & Barker, 1974:423-437). Corrupt officers justify these unearned gains by presenting them as gratuities or gifts given by “respectable merchants” for efficient police work. Indeed, “respectable merchants” are not giving these gifts simply because they like the police. In exchange for their favour, they expect to be protected and favoured by police too. On the other hand, the officer’s authority is corrupted whether the intention of the corrupter is honest or not, because these gifts obligate him to the corrupter. This step can be considered as the first conditioning step into other types of corruption (Roebuck & Barker, 1974:423-437).
Some businesses such as towing companies, ambulances, garages, lawyers, bondsmen, taxi cab drivers, service stations, and moving companies need business referrals from police to expand their clientele. Therefore, they develop “good” relations with police by giving kickbacks to law enforcement officials such as goods, services or money in exchange for referrals. In other words, officers misuse their position in order to obtain material rewards or other identified gains, and these gains are defined as kickbacks (Arrigo & Claussen 2003:272-290). Kickbacks are often viewed as petty corruption, but they undermine police community relations and harm the department’s reputation for trustworthiness.
The police are responsible for investigating cases or accidents, so they have privileges in entering a crime scene or such places. Some officers misuse these privileges by acquiring property or money from crime scenes when they are on-duty. These kinds of acts are defined as opportunistic thefts. There is no corrupter in this type of corruption, when officers remove property from burglary scenes, unprotected property, traffic accident victims, unconscious or deceased people, or violent crime victims (Roebuck & Barker, 1974:423-437). The Mollen Commission report includes a case in which the officer testified that he had stolen $600 from a burglary scene by fooling a sixteen-year old girl, which the officer defines as his most embarrassing act of corruption. He confesses that he went to the burglary scene with theft in mind, and asked the victim –a sixteen-year old girl- if any money had been stolen. The girl responded that her mother kept their savings hidden, but she did not know where. Then the officer asked her to call her mother to find out where the money was so he could check it for them. After he had learned the location of the money, he stole it, and reported it as stolen by burglars (Mollen Commision Report 1994:24).
Shakedowns occur when police officers solicit a bribe for not making an arrest or pursuing the case further instead of following formal procedures. In this type of corruption, officers witness or gain knowledge of a criminal violation, and they have the opportunity to report the case or look the other way. To illustrate, some of the officers may solicit bribes from transporters of narcotics, burglars or traffic violators. Police officers with little fear of being caught are more likely to conduct this type of corruption (Arrigo & Claussen, 2003:272-290). Corrupt officers usually prefer to take bribes from transporters of contraband, out-of-town drivers, and low class powerless citizens due to their reluctance to report the bribery (Roebuck & Barker 1974:423-437).
Protection of illegal activities
Corruptors in this type of corruption are seeking to operate without police harassment, so they pay officers to allow them to conduct illegal businesses such as illegal drug sales, prostitution, liquor violations, abortion rings, or pornography rings. Some legitimate businesses may also operate illegally, so they also pay police for their illegal operations. For example, a cab driver may pay police for the illegal permission to operate outside prescribed routes or to pick up and discharge fares at unauthorized sites (Roebuck & Barker 1974:423-437).
This type of corruption occurs in two ways: by “taking up” of traffic tickets or by quashing of prosecution proceedings following the offender’s arrest. The fixer might be a detective who conducts an investigation, or a ticketing officer who later agrees to fix a traffic ticket for a fee. In traffic violations, there is a ticketing process for validation after the original citation, so other officers who have a control over the process may fix tickets (Roebuck & Barker 1974:423-437).
Direct criminal activities
As human beings, police officers are not free of committing crimes. If a policeman directly commits a crime against a person or property for material gain, this type of corruption is defined as “direct criminal activities” (Roebuck & Barker 1974:423-437). Crimes that are committed in this type of corruption include serious felonies such as burglary, robbery, or grand larceny. Unlike the tolerance that they may show to other types of corruption, departments will not tolerate this type of corruption, and will prosecute the officers engaged in this type of corruption immediately. In addition, these actions will not receive support from a corrupt officer’s companions, and money that is gathered by this way will be considered as dirty (Barker 1977:101-110).
For some reasons police officers may want certain job assignments, may prefer working certain hours, or wish to arrange their vacation periods according to their desire. Those who administer the distribution of assignments and personnel may respond to these demands by collecting fees for assigning the officers to certain divisions, precincts, units, details, shifts and beats. Barker (1977:101-110) stated, “internal payoffs regulate a market where a police officer’s prerogatives may be brought, bartered, or sold” (p.105). In this market, prerogatives such as work assignments, off-day holidays, vacation periods, and control of evidence are sold. Sometimes, internal payoffs might be related to other forms of corruption, and demand for specific job assignment might be an indicator of corruption (Bucak 2009). For example, an officer may want to be assigned to a particular precinct where drug dealers exist, and he or she might “pay off” a supervisor for that. In fact the officer may want to be assigned there with shakedowns in mind.
Basdeo (2010:385-400) concedes that corruption is categorised on the basis of three types. The first type is the “rotten apples” and this term is used to refer to a few corrupt officers who use their positions for personal gain. When these corrupt police officials’ band together, they form a “rotten pocket”. The actions of a small number of corrupt police officials tarnish the reputation of the entire organisation. The second type is pervasive unorganised corruption. The explanation afforded is that such a department consists of the majority of police officials who are corrupt but who have little interaction with one another, although many police officials who are involved in corrupt activities cooperate with one another for personal gain. The third type is pervasive organised corruption. This describes a police department in which almost all police officials are involved in systemic and organised corruption.
The commonly held view is that corruption in a police organisation can be attributed to a few police officials and they are referred to as “rotten apples”, and these few infest the whole organisation (Delattre 2002). The “rotten apple” approach view established that corruption in a police organisation can be blamed on a few “rotten apples”, which taint the image of the whole organisation (Delattre 2002). Current research however, indicates otherwise that managers and leaders in the police department has to take accountability for the corruption and refrain from blaming the “rotten apples”. In police departments the majority of police officials are afraid due to lack of accountability to take action against the few corrupt police officials (Crank & Caldero 2010; Punch 2009).
Prevention strategies are examined under key factors that have an influence on the police corruption problem.
Needless, to say an organization needs strong leadership to root out police corruption. In order to prevent corruption, a police chief has to declare his or her determination to clean up the organization not solely by saying so, but also by becoming the symbol of integrity. Officers will observe the chief’s behaviour and they will also test to see if firm messages against corruption are really meant (Punch, 2000:301-324). Therefore, leaders’ attitudes towards corruption, as well as their explicit or implicit messages, have a crucial impact in rooting out corruption.
Internal Affairs Units (IAU) play an important role in detecting and uncovering police corruption, so their organizational quality will reflect the organization’s determination to tackle the problem. Inadequate resources or personnel cause gaps in investigating police corruption incidents. Punch (2000:301-324) suggests that an organization should put its best detectives into a 21 internal affairs unit, and adopt a proactive stance rather than a reactive one. The Knapp Commission supports this argument and suggests that the capacity of the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) has to be improved, and the number of personnel in the IAD must be increased (p.206). The Mollen commission states that the intelligence-gathering deficiencies caused investigative gaps, and the organization failed to gather information about serious corruption (Mollen 1994:102). According to Punch (2000:301-324), Britain is a good example of investigating corruption by employing the same investigative methods for corrupt officers that are used against organized criminals. These methods include surveillance techniques such as the use of informants, telephone intercepts and sting operations. However, most of the time police departments elsewhere failed to use these techniques against corrupt officers.
In proactive methods, organizations perform self-initiated information gathering activities with the purpose of collecting relevant information about corruption (Ivković 2005). In other words, organizations take action to investigate or detect corruption without waiting for citizen complaints. Integrity testing is one method that is used to test officers’ propensity to misconduct. In integrity testing, officers are placed in a situation with temptation and are followed by various electronic or surveillance devices” (Punch 2000:318). Proactive methods vary depending on their target and the level of intrusion. The target of the tests might be randomly selected police officers, recruits or rookies, or a particular police officer or group of police officers who are suspected to be involved in corruption. Proactive methods also vary from investigating more accessible sources such as public records, to conducting more covert operations such as electronic surveillance or using informants.
Discipline and Inspections
As stated in the slippery slope approach, corruption starts with small perks and progresses to more serious deviance. This process will more likely emerge in weakly supervised and undisciplined organizations. Klockars et al. (2006) noted that by “failing to detect or discipline or by not being serious about detecting and investigating misconduct and the disciplining of violators, the police agency trumps the rule prohibiting such behavior and de facto legitimizes or at least signals its lack of concern about its violation”(p.201). Therefore, the department’s attitude towards corruption would directly affect the officers’ decision on engaging in corruption. If an agency sends a firm message by detecting and investigating corruption allegations, and disciplines the violators quickly and effectively, this will reinforce the official message that the agency is serious about the issue and will not be tolerant of such kind of behavior. Thus, some discipline mechanisms such as attention to financial paperwork, inspections and audits gain importance for preventing corruption (Punch 2000).
One of the key components of prevention strategies for police corruption is training. In order to prevent corruption in its early stages, an organization has to introduce the agency policies regarding corruption and integrity by training programs. From the beginning, the occupational hazards along with the importance of standards and ethical issues have to be addressed in training programs. Training programs should not only focus on ethics and diversity awareness, but must also address the policing practices that are susceptible to exploitation (Klockars et al., 2004). After such a loaded training program, an officer would have an insight on keeping himself from corruption practices, and would be more immune to the cases that he may face.
Assessing the Danger Zones and Rotation of Personnel
Because of the nature of policing, some areas of police work are vulnerable to corruption such as drug investigations, undercover work, informant-handler relationships, licensing, traffic, and police duties requiring contacts with private companies (Punch, 2000). After defining the danger zones in an organization, careful observation has to be made to see if that unit is committed to integrity. In some departments, officers work in the same unit for years, and because they may lose their job motivation during this long time they engage in corruption easily. These senior officers may also affect the new officers, and try to change their attitudes towards corruption by devaluing their beliefs and ethics education. Senior officers have experience and hierarchical power, so they can easily influence the rookies. Therefore, by taking these factors into account special attention has to be paid to danger zones, and a careful rotation of personnel is necessary after a certain time to prevent corruption.
The gaps in the law or law itself may promote corruption. Punch (2000:301-324) noted that “unenforceable laws, laws with no public support, or archaic laws and local ordinances can all form conditions that lead to corruption” (p.320). These kinds of laws may give wide discretion opportunities to officers, and create a suitable ground for corruption. Opportunities created by laws for corruption have to be abolished by examining and changing the laws. Another issue is deficient laws on corruption which are not very specific. These laws have to be revised and clarified by spelling out the offenses or toughened by increasing the sanctions (Punch 2000:301-324).
Code of conduct for the South African Police Service (The SAPS code of conduct printed in its 2015/16 annual report is presented in Box 1. This is the Code that the NDP recommended the SAPS revisit.
- I commit myself to creating a safe and secure environment for all the people in South Africa by –
- Participating in endeavours aimed at addressing the cause of crime;
- Preventing all acts that may threaten the safety or security of any community;
- Investigating criminal conduct that endangers the safety or security of the community; and
- Bringing the perpetrators to justice.
In carrying out this commitment, I shall at all times –
- Uphold the Constitution and the law;
- Take into account the needs of the community
- Recognise the needs of the South African Police Service as my employer; and
- Cooperate with all interested parties in the community and the government at every level.
To achieve a safe and secure environment for all the people of South Africa, I undertake to
- Act with integrity in rendering an effective service of a high standard that is accessible to everybody;
- Continuously strive toward improving this service;
- Utilise all available resources responsibly, efficiently and cost-effectively to optimise their use;
- Develop my own skills and contribute toward the development of those of my colleagues, to ensure equal opportunities for all;
- Contribute to the reconstruction and development of, and reconciliation in, our country
- Uphold and protect the fundamental rights of every person;
- Act in a manner that is impartial, courteous, honest, respectful, transparent and accountable;
- Exercise the powers conferred upon me in a responsible and controlled manner; and Work toward preventing any form of corruption and bring the perpetrators thereof to justice.
Interview Conducted with Ps Donny Anderson at the Apostolic Faith Mission Church
Brief Background on how Donny got involved in the CPF
A group of pastors got together in the community under the guidance of the MEC of Safety Mr Mkhulu. Mr Mkhulu came into the community to visit and advised us to begin the Crime Prevention Association. It was then that a group of 12 pastors managed to get it legitimised. Apostle Victor Smith was the then chairperson, Donny Anderson was the deputy, Earl Wilkinson was the secretary and David Usher was the treasurer. Together with the 12 pastors; a constitution was then drawn up, and eventually rectified by the local government. At the very outset, the group of pastors began working together in the community. Introduction to the community came via Zwele Mkhize, who was the then Provincial Premier at that time. Zwele Mkhize introduced the group of pastors at the hall in Wentworth and subsequent to that the relevant issues in the community were addressed. Issues such as housing, social ills, crime and so forth were addressed in the community. Following this there was an AGM for the CPF. The group of pastors were encouraged to get themselves involved. A delegation was then formed and invited to Nazam Primary school in Merebank, whereby Donny Anderson was voted as chairperson of the CPF. It was something new to Donny Anderson but he eventually got the feel of it. (Ps Donny)
How do you see your role as the CPF chairperson?
It is completely different to the CPA, which is a go between the CPF and the community. Community and SAPS comes to talk to CPA. CPF from their perspective is to ensure that SAPS does their work properly. It is interesting and completely different to crime prevention. CPF makes sure community is well aware as to what is happening. (Ps Donny)
An internet article by Community Safety and Liaison (2020) states:
The powers and functions of a CPF in the constitution include:
Promoting accountability of the local police to your community and co-operation of your community with the local police.
- Monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of the police serving you.
- Examine and advise on local policing priorities.
Evaluate the provision of services such as, Distribution of resources:
- The way complaints and charges are handled.
- Patrolling of residential and business areas.
- Keeping record, writing reports and making recommendations to the Station Commissioners, Provincial Commissioner and the MEC.
What is the crime stats in Wentworth?
A brief outlook of Merebank and Wentworth; are monitored by the SAPS. Crime statistics are completely different. Merebank has mostly hijacking of vehicles, housebreaking and other odd and ends. In Wentworth, there is plenty drug related stories that lead to shooting and violence, due to the dynamics of the community. It is in total contrast to the old days when there was diverse gangsterism, in light of today which is drug related. (Ps Donny)
According to an article on Crime stats (2019), there has been 9 murders, 34 sexual offences, 45 attempted murders, 91 assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, 289 common assaults, 60 common robberies, 147 robberies with aggravating circumstances, 23 illegal possession of firearms with ammunition, 354 drug related crimes and 12 cases of rape in Wentworth.
What is the root course of the crime?
The upkeep of Wentworth itself, if one considers about 30-40 years ago, nothing has changed. Flats are not been considered anymore to house and accommodate the people. They take it for granted that all one does is provide the accommodation, house the people and totally forget that the people begin to grow and multiply. Eventually these people outgrow these accommodations and cannot provide their own as unemployment is rife. There are conglomerates like Engen, Sapref, Hosaf Fibre and so forth, but majority of the people are still unemployed. Most of outside people including foreign nationals receive employment by these mega industries. Unemployment, housing and overcrowding are some of the major battles in the community at large. If one takes a tour around Wentworth it is evident that grass is not cut, streetlights are not working, and rubbish dumped on every corner. DSW do not pick up dirt in certain areas, and grass cut when felt like. In Reiger road, Hime street, and Woodville road one can find piles of dirt. The type of environment people become conducive to help increase the crime rate in the community. The greatest problems are the overcrowding of the flats where most of the violence, drug peddling and crime occur. (Ps Donny)
According to an internet research article by Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council (2020), the following was mentioned on the root causes of crime;
Key Factors Related to Crime and Victimization the following are some of the factors reported in the literature:
Age…Research emphasizes the opportunities of focusing crime prevention efforts on early childhood because many persistent offenders begin their involvement in anti-social activities before and during adolescence, when risk taking behaviour tends to be more prevalent than during other stages of life.
Gender…Males are more likely than females to be involved in crime because crime tends to involve aggression and risk taking. These biological differences when seen within the context of social learning and cultural norms provide important opportunities for prevention.
Peer Influence…When youth lack a sense of belonging within the family and the community, they are more likely to associate with peers who are in conflict with the law, which in turn increases their risk of offending. This connection between the individual and peer behaviours provides key prevention opportunities through peer-based approaches. Ideally, however, children and youth have healthy attachments to their families and communities, which are more likely to lead to pro-social peer relations.
Difficulty in School…Schools provide an important setting for the promotion of healthy relationships and healthy development, which includes educational attainment. Students who at least complete high school tend to experience more positive outcomes including better employment opportunities. As children, many offenders were less successful in school, had lower attendance rates and were frequently more likely to leave school earlier than their peers. As much as 41% of inmates have learning disabilities and/or literacy issues.
Problematic Substance Use…The majority of inter-personal crimes are committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol or are related to problematic substance use. Regular alcohol and/or drug use during adolescence is associated with higher conviction rates in adulthood. Therefore, preventing or delaying the onset of substance use and reducing harms associated with problematic substance use can significantly reduce crime.
Mental Health…Persons with mental health issues are at higher risk of victimization or coming in contact with the law. People with psychiatric disabilities are also over-represented in correctional facilities. To reduce the risk, appropriate mental health facilities and supports need to be readily available and easily accessible.
Parenting…Frequently when people try to understand crime, they go from blaming the offender to blaming the family. In reality, families must be seen within the broader social and community context. Research shows that parenting practices that are inconsistent, neglectful, overly punitive or permissive increase the risk of delinquency, as do parental criminality and serious family conflict. Supporting families and promoting positive parenting practices provides important opportunities for decreasing criminality.
Violence in the Home…Interventions to reduce family violence will have positive inter-generational effects. While family violence and interpersonal violence that occur outside the home are crimes in and of themselves, they also significantly contribute to crime and victimization later in life. Victims of child maltreatment and neglect are more likely to come in conflict with the law. A high number of inmates experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse as children. Men who witnessed their fathers be violent toward their mothers are three times as likely to be violent toward their own wives. Reducing family violence, recognizing the impact of childhood trauma and providing trauma-informed systems of care, greatly contribute to community safety.
Social Exclusion…Many racialized groups continue to be over-represented in correctional facilities. Race/ethnic factors associated with crime, in reality, are the consequences of people being kept at a social and economic disadvantage. Decreasing stereotyping, discrimination and marginalization as well as increasing equity and belonging can go a long way to addressing such disadvantages.
Unemployment…A high number of youth and adults admitted to correctional facilities have been chronically unemployed and/or underemployed. Unemployment after terms of incarceration also increases the likelihood of re-offending. Improving employment opportunities greatly contributes to community safety.
Poverty…Poverty, income insecurity and other inequities are linked to chronic stress and health problems, unsatisfactory living conditions and relationship challenges. The effects are particularly stressful during pregnancy and for lone parents. An equitable distribution of resources and opportunities inevitably will lead to significant reductions in social ills including crime.
Note Regarding These Factors…The factors presented above do not comprise an exhaustive list. Researchers continue to explore other influences on crime such as entertainment/social media, nutrition, and exposure to environmental toxins. Ongoing commitment to evaluation and research will strengthen the evidence base for crime prevention.
What are the population statistics in Wentworth?
An estimated amount of plus minus 46000.
Once again, under my observation in the last 50 years Wentworth has grown in numbers but this would include children, youth and adults. However, this number is this a tip of the iceberg in comparison to the population of South Africa on a whole. If one considers, the number of people living in Wentworth there is cause for concern. However, there are those who are improving their living lifestyle while there are others who are quite comfortable the way they are. (Ps Donny)
In light of the internet article called Wazimap (2011), which is probably obsolete due to growth and development it states:
In the eThekwini Ward 68 population was 39 355; 6.1 square kilometres, 6483.1 people per square kilometre.
A comparative study between 2011 and the interviewee’s estimation shows an increase of about 6645 people. This 9 year gap is just a projection as people are born, die, immigrate and so forth.
Which are the most affected areas now that are crime related?
Where the flats are like the barracks at the corner of Landsdowne and Silvertree road, Hime street, Wiest road, Woodville road, Reiger road. Flats were built to accommodate people but have now become a breathing environment for crime related issues. Drugs and sales of it has become a major problem in Wentworth. It is estimated that drug lords make an income of approximately R150 000-R200 000 per day. This is what the good guys make in supplying and selling of drugs. Drugs is a thriving and booming business. (Ps Donny)
What effects are the drugs having on the community?
Breaking down relationships in homes, and affecting relationships in the community. (Ps Donny)
An online study by the Department of Health (2020) states:
Substance abuse causes problems in communities. These problems are –
Increased violence, including domestic and child abuse
Accidents caused by drunk driving
Increase in out-of-wedlock pregnancies
Increased dependence on government assistance programs
Family and social problems
Deaths due to alcoholism, or overdose from drug use
Fatal alcohol syndrome in children
Spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, and Hepatitis C either through sharing of drug paraphernalia or unprotected sex
Is drugs the backbone of crime in the community?
Not 100% the backbone. Most of the crime is committed due to territorial wars. Shootings are mainly over turf that drug lords want to claim. It is also a result of the taking of clients. For example, if the pricing of the drugs is cheaper in another territory then clients have options. This is becoming a sore point in Wentworth because one can get drugs almost anywhere in the community. (Ps Donny)
The Southland Sun published an article (2019) in light of this aspect and quoted the words of a local pastor and chairperson of the Wentworth Community Policing Forum, Donovan Anderson, who said; that the main cause of this outbreak of violence and killings are related to gang rivalry, violence and drug turf wars as well as armed robberies.
Apart from the notorious history of Wentworth, Anderson believes that this issue stems from the overcrowding of flats, the lack of access to further education, few job opportunities as well as poverty. “Most guys turn to look for a quick way to make money and with the new drugs on the market, they get involved in drug dealing and things just spiral out of control. It’s so nasty because as a result, innocent young children are losing their lives by making a living out of something they’re not supposed to do and ultimately the parents and community suffer.”
Do you perhaps think these drug lords have hitmen?
Would not say hitmen, but however, there are certain individuals who are going into the areas and doing the shooting. Most of the drug lords behind the drug sales do not live in the area. They just come in to supply the pedlars and then disappear. Most people in the community are of the perception that hitmen are being hired to get rid of others who are drug peddling with intention to close them down. (Ps Donny)
An internet write up by East Coast Radio (2016) states as follows:
Two men, thought to be members of a Wentworth gang are in police custody after being arrested apparently while on their way to kill a member of a rival gang at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
It further states, “They (officers) proceeded to the court and waited there for the suspects. They then spotted the vehicle that fitted the description given to them. When approached the driver and his accomplice in the vehicle were asked to open the vehicle which was then searched” he said.
“A 9mm pistol was found with 9 live rounds of ammunition. Both suspects were immediately arrested and charged. They will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court tomorrow” Mhlongo said.
Does the CPF know, or are aware, if there are so called mafias in the area, who are determined to close down others and take over the drug dealing in Wentworth?
It will never get there. There is no one person in Wentworth who has the power to do that. However, if assumptions are true it could lead to the hunger for power. (Ps Donny)
According to an internet report by Kubheka (2020) whereby the CPF chairperson Ps Donovan Anderson clearly states:
Shootings on Lansdowne have been ongoing for some time now. This shooting is different from last week’s drive-by shooting. In Lansdowne Road, there’s a drug turf war going on. And people have been complaining about it. They are tired of it.
In addition to this ward councillor Aubrey Snyman mentioned:
There were just two more casualties in the drug turf war crossfire on the corner of Lansdowne and Silvertree Road, an area known as “the Barracks” in Wentworth.
Is there a ratio increase or decrease in the crime stats in the last 3 years?
Crime stats have averaged up. The normal crime stats like house breaking, drugs, common assault, grievous bodily harm, and attempted murder. Some months it increases and other months it decreases. (Ps Donny)
In the Crime Stats SA (2020) the following report is stated;
2017 (7) 2018 (7) 2019 (9)
2017 (36) 2018 (27) 2019 (34)
2017 (43) 2018 (49) 2019 (45)
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm
2017 (100) 2018 (124) 2019 (91)
2017 (206) 2018 (274) 2019 (289)
2017 (41) 2018 (54) 2019 (60)
Robbery with Aggravating Circumstances
2017 (104) 2018 (114) 2019 (147)
Malicious damage to property
2017 (84) 2018 (117) 2019 (123)
Burglary at residential premises
2017 (159) 2018 (234) 2019 (211)
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition
2017 (51) 2018 (30) 2019 (23)
Drug related Crimes
2017 (644) 2018 (559) 2019 (354)
Sexual offences detected as a result of police action
2017 (5) 2018 (2) 2019 (13)
Community reported serious crimes
2017 (1315) 2018 (1593) 2019 (1773)
2017 (22) 2018 (10) 2019 (12)
2017 (13) 2018 (16) 2019 (21)
All theft not mentioned elsewhere
2017 (256) 2018 (311) 2019 (425)
2017 (38) 2018 (27) 2019 (34)
What is the major crime related incident currently in the community?
Drugs is not a crime but has become a business. So yes, I would say there are a variation of crime related incidents. (Ps Donny)
An online article by Rall (2019) declares, ‘Wentworth has been plagued with shooting and murders in recent months over what many believe is linked to turf wars over the lucrative drug trade’
Could there have been some protection on these crime related incidents if it was handled more efficiently at the inception?
That is difficult to say because on most occasions people are caught by surprise including the people who are targeted as well. Even SAPS is caught off guard. It just takes place suddenly. (PS Donny)
What strategies are in place to ensure that crime is under control?
There are quite a few strategies in place with the cluster command and the province involved. The community need to be informed that Wentworth station is under manned. It may seem to be enough manpower in the Wentworth SAPS, but then there are guys who book off sick, and those who are medically unfit. However, SAPS have cluster command who send in vans during the day and night. Province also sends in manpower unannounced to assist the area. At the moment with the cluster command and province things are getting stabilized in the community. Wentworth SAPS is short-staffed and needs help. (Ps Donny)
An online article by Lamb (2019) relates to the SONA address by Cyril Ramaphosa on crime with the following mentioned:
Many of the determinants of violent crime in South Africa are beyond the police’s control. Crime and violence are shaped by a variety and combination of societal factors. These include inequality, societal norms that condone the use of violence, and alcohol and drug abuse. Despite this reality, the heavy lifting of crime control has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
SAPS has developed various community policing approaches since the mid-1990s. These have been designed to try and work with communities to address crime’s societal drivers.
These strategies have included the creation of community policing forums. Another strategy was the implementation of “sector policing” – an approach that divides policing precincts into smaller parts, which would be actively patrolled by the same police personnel to improve police-community relations.
Unfortunately, there is little evidence to show that these approaches have done much to bring down crime rates. Why? Because communities, especially those where crime is high, don’t trust the police much. Another problem is that most community policing strategies are imposed on residents by SAPS without proper buy-in. Only certain groups, such as neighbourhood watches, are actively encouraged to participate. Other community-based organisations and NGOs are often excluded.
In his speech, Ramaphosa introduced a “new” SAPS Community Policing Strategy. In fact, it appears to be a “business as usual” approach. Without important changes, it is unlikely that this strategy will be any more effective than previous efforts.
Building equal and mutually beneficial partnerships between police and communities is an effective way to fight crime. Sadly, those areas in South Africa which take this approach do so in an ad hoc way, driven almost entirely by individual police officers taking the initiative without instruction from their superiors.
What are the thoughts of implementing a community watch?
It is what we are considering at the moment and seems to be working well in Merebank. There are about 3-4 security companies involved in the Merebank community watch. People contribute an ex amount of money every month for the armed response vehicles that patrol the area. At the moment permission has been granted by the station commander for those requesting to patrol at night with white lights brigade as part of the neighbour watch. The only problem is that these criminals move over to other areas where it is easier to target since it may be in absentia of vehicles patrolling. Merebank is fully functioning with neighbourhood watch but in Wentworth there is a major problem. (Ps Donny)
Neighbourhood South Africa (2020) states:
Neighbourhood watch is one of the most effective ways for neighbourhoods to reduce crime in their surrounding areas. It will also assist in protecting property, reducing car break ins and house burglary. An effective neighbourhood watch will help in regaining areas from criminals. Being forewarned as to their techniques and what will go a far way to neutralise the ability to conduct their activities, has already shown excellent results in a number of areas in South Africa.
Working in conjunction with our local police services and armed response organizations, we can be a formidable team against criminals and their illegal activities. It will require commitment from individuals, and a willingness to participate in keeping the streets clean. The collaboration and impetus will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, but this can be assessed and formalised by a team from the area and police. Most people would agree that prevention is better than cure. A small price to pay, than to see loved ones suffering the often long-term effects of being a victim of crime,
Creating an awareness amongst residents as to the criminals actions and what to be on the lookout for, showing them how to monitor untoward behaviour, as well as who to report issues to, will immediately begin to produce results, while at the same time increase the levels of safety for all our community, from children through to the elderly. This will go a far way to improve our lifestyle and reduce fear of crime in our daily lives.
What about the installing of surveillance cameras in the hot spot areas?
That will be of tremendous help. It has being the cry for a long time for government to get these cameras installed. This has been discussed in the meetings but there is a need for the role players to come on board to assist. With all that is going on in Wentworth the innocent suffer. (Ps Donny)
Welsh (2002) states that law enforcement agencies are continually seeking new technologies that hold promise for enhancing their public safety efforts. Among the latest generation of such public safety tools is the use of public surveillance cameras. The theory behind the utility of public surveillance systems for crime prevention purposes is that potential offenders will refrain from criminal activity if they know they are being watched and believe they are at greater risk of apprehension. Cameras may also increase perceptions of safety among law abiding citizens, encouraging them to use public spaces and serve as informal guardians and potential witnesses. Gool (2004) mentions that advocates of cameras also theorize that their surveillance capabilities can enhance criminal justice system efficiency by alerting police of crimes and potentially dangerous situations as they occur and providing crucial information that can help police determine the safest way in which to respond. Chainey (2000) says that video footage documenting criminal activity and identifying perpetrators and witnesses may also aid in investigations and prosecutions, increasing police and prosecutorial efficiency, benefiting crime victims whose cases are able to be closed through the use of video evidence, and incapacitating a greater number of offenders from committing future crimes. Gill (2006) mentions that the contributions to policing and public safety that surveillance cameras may yield perhaps explain why their use has expanded in recent years.
As the CPF chairperson do you feel the police are doing enough to prevent substance abuse, such as the illegal sales of drugs in the Wentworth area?
They are doing what they can but their hands are tied. We can stop the smaller drug dealers but we are not going to stop the bigger drug lords. There has to be a concerted effort in trying to get the whole act together. Stations like Wentworth the resources are limited. When it comes to the bigger issues in Wentworth the organized crime unit needs to come in. (Ps Donny)
As a CPF chairperson what is your take on community protecting drug dealers?
The drug dealers’ good deeds go before them. It is a way of the community getting their needs met and a form of protection. People refuse to talk. They know where the stuff is kept and they know who are drug peddling, but they will not talk.(Ps Donny)
In his book Elijah Anderson (1999:133-34) states that some leaders try to assist the community by surreptitiously donating money to various organizations and helping to support their families and friends with drug profits. The reason for seeing and yet not seeing drug transactions is that as people walk the streets of the community, they cannot help seeing what is going on, but are afraid of getting involved. Concerned for their own safety, they do not even want people to notice them witnessing what is going on. If a bust occurs, anyone who are considered to be paying too much attention to the drug activity might be suspected of having informed the police about it. The way people deal with this fear and the need to protect themselves is by seeing but not seeing.
Many parents see but do not see for another reason: they realise that their own son is probably involved in the trade. They disapprove of it but also benefit from it. The economic unravelling in so many of these communities puts people up against the wall and encourages them to do things they otherwise would be morally reluctant to do.
There are often complaints by the police that people refuse to come forward as witnesses. The major problem is what happens to those who do opt to witness but then their lives are threatened?
Very interesting question. An example is what has happened currently at the barracks. Some people who spoke up at a meeting had their windows broken and vehicles tyres punctured. There was about 40 people present at the meeting. SAPS went to pull down the shelter at the barracks. The drug pedlars sat under the shelter and refused to move. They received instruction to move and then on refusal, were forcibly removed with about eight of them arrested. The saddest part was some of the community members were siding with the drug pedlars, wanting to know why the shack needs to be dismantled. Crime related incidents seem to be dividing the community in relation to what these drug lords do for them. This defeats the ends of justice, because there are those who are tired of what is happening, while others who are benefitting are quite content. (Ps Donny)
In light of an internet report by Kelly Dedel (2006) citizens who witness or are victimized by crime are sometimes reluctant to report incidents to police or to assist in the prosecution of offenders. Such reluctance may be in response to a perceived or actual threat of retaliation by the offender or his or her associates, or may be the result of more generalized community norms that discourage residents from cooperating with police and prosecutors. In some communities, close ties between witnesses, offenders, and their families and friends may also deter witnesses from cooperating; these relationships can provide a vitally important context for understanding witness intimidation.
Witnesses refuse to cooperate with police for reasons that are not related to intimidation. For example, a general lack of trust in the police may deter some witnesses from cooperating. In addition, research has shown that a desire for privacy, a desire to protect the offender from criminal prosecution, emotional attachments, economic dependence, or a desire to protect children may also deter victims of domestic violence from cooperating with police (Felson et al. 2002).
Witness intimidation takes many forms, including:
- implicit threats, looks, or gestures
- explicit threats of violence
- actual physical violence
- property damage
- other threats, such as challenges to child custody or immigration status.
More specifically, offenders may:
- confront witnesses verbally
- send notes and letters
- make nuisance phone calls
- park or loiter outside the homes of witnesses
- damage witnesses houses or property
- threaten witnesses children, spouses, parents, or other family members
- assault or even murder witnesses or their family members.
Threats are much more common than actual physical violence and are in fact just as effective in deterring cooperation. Although some witnesses experience a single incident of intimidation, intimidation may also involve an escalating series of threats and actions that become more violent over time. Other witnesses do not experience intimidation directly, but rather believe that retaliation will occur if they cooperate with police. Either way, they are deterred from offering relevant information that might assist police and prosecutors.
Particularly in communities dominated by gang and drug-related crime, residents have seen firsthand that offenders are capable of violence and brutality. Many also believe that offenders will return to the community after relatively brief periods of incarceration or will be able to arrange for intimidation by others while they themselves are incarcerated. The experience of violence in the community lends credibility to threats and creates a general sense of fear that discourages cooperation with police.
What happens to those who open up cases and the detectives handling the cases contact and inform the suspect?
That is the norm since corruption is not only evident in SAPS but everywhere. There are some very good police in Wentworth and others yes who are corrupt. Some are making a living out of the drug dealers. There have been community reports of people witnessing police coming to pick up tax from the drug dealers. Corrupt police officials names who are collecting bribes were reported to the station commander and the higher orders but justice just does not prevail. The community in fact do not at this moment know who to turn to anymore. Drug dealers, are informed prior to the police arriving to raid by corrupt police officials. When the police arrive everything is normal and it is as though nothing is taking place. (Ps Donny)
Jenks et al (2012:4) mentions that police deviance has serious social consequences including a decline in public support for police, loss of trust in the rule of law, and a general mistrust of police. Taken in context with the necessity of community involvement for effective policing, a loss of public support could be catastrophic to the community. Non consistent practices of law enforcement often reduce the community’s confidence in police and willingness to aid in investigations because the relationship between law enforcement and the public is strongly affected by the perceived legitimacy of the police organization (Ivkovi 2005a; Bayley 2002). Further, how the police are viewed often coincides with a general perception of the entire criminal justice system. Highly publicized cases of police corruption or misconduct are especially harmful to public views of the police. Bayley (2002:134) noted this type of high profile incident was the exception, not the rule: “Although the public is most concerned about dramatic infringements of the rule-of-law, such as brutality, planting false evidence, and lying in courts most of the liberties taken by police are more mundane, routinized, and difficult to detect.”
What will probably happen maybe at a later stage if the community begins to open a kangaroo court like in other areas?
We hope that never happens in Wentworth but frustration is another issue with people. When you take on a responsibility like with SAPS, Fire department, Ambulance, Army and so forth you pledge on an oath. Therefore, you get paid to do a job so go out and do it. Stop getting involved in corruption if you dedicated yourself to do the job, committed yourself to do the job and accepted the job, and made a confession. A corrupt police official become a criminal themselves when they side with the suspects, take bribes from them, tip them off and so forth. Sometimes SAPS is doing a good job but the justice system is failing. Making the police service a community friendly structure does not do justice to the systems that need to be in place. The justice system is partly to blame for the corruption that is happening among the police. (Ps Donny)
Bronwyn’s (2001:75) study reveals that vigilante violence is frequently justified by its supporters as ‘filling a policing gap’ caused by police inefficiency and corruption, as well as by the practical failings of the Criminal Justice System. This is corroborated by the very same study by Bronwyn, which reveals that the police’s slow reaction time to complaints, their poor detective work, their failure to make follow-ups on cases and police corruption are reasons why the community has lost trust in them. Corruption causes deterioration in relations between the community and the police, thus compromising effective policing. When this happens, the public is tempted to resort to vigilantism (Masiloane 2004:150).
Another popular motivation for vigilantism suggests that the police are reluctant to address crime, that they are inefficient and unhelpful. For these reasons, people feel that they are forced to take law into their own hands to deal with crime. Rather than being viewed as a considered choice, vigilantism is presented as a necessary and inevitable reaction to police lethargy.
Thus, the argument here suggests that community mistrust fuels perceptions about police inability and opens a space for community members to take law into their own hands (Harris, 2001:56).
According to Beaver (2008:12), in most incidents, criminals were caught in the act and either beaten up, stoned and burnt or killed outright by an angry community. In terms of ineffective policing and breakdown in the Criminal Justice System, it has been the experience of ordinary people that if cases are reported to the police, mostly/usually nothing happens (due to police manpower shortages, case overload, and police being overworked). Hence, communities lose faith and confidence in the ability of the state to prosecute any criminal effectively, especially when they see criminals out in the streets soon after being arrested. The fact that the perpetrator will be out on bail to commit other crimes results in people taking law into their own hands (Harris, 2001:59).
Is it true that files go missing and bribes are received by these corrupt police?
Bribes are being taken because this is openly spoken by people. Files going missing is difficult to accept. All statements that are opened are computerised. As long the person got the case number the statement can be found on the computer. However, there can be a delay in the system if the detective withholds the file and does not submit it to the necessary authorities to weigh the viability of the case. There is also a failure on behalf of the complainant who does not follow up on the case that has been opened. The people who have opened a case and feel that it is being delayed should approach the CPF who are available to speed up the process. CPF also make themselves available quarterly to areas such as Wentworth and Merebank to equip and educate people on how the justice system functions and operates. (Ps Donny)
An internet article by McNally (2016) states the following:
I spent two years watching the police take bribes from drug dealers in west Johannesburg. I sat sequestered with a man called Raymond in his shop as he wrote down the times and stations from which the cops came. We watched men in tight T-shirts pop in and out of an orange security door built into the side of a block of flats on Ontdekkers Road and drop money into cop cars.
This happened throughout the day. The dealers schemed – if they refused a cop, he became an enemy, but if they reduced the amount, he would continue to feed lightly and be placated. Perhaps as little as R50 if there was only one cop in the car; maybe R200 if there were more.
What type of disciplinary measures are taken against police who are involved in corruption?
If found out they could be suspended or lose their jobs. The problem we have is that people know police are corrupt but do not want to openly declare their wrong doings. We know of incidents of police who have been brought to book for corruption. They have been reeled in by the station commander where they were spoken to and disciplined. We need the public to stand up, come forward with evidence regarding corrupt police and the necessary steps will be taken. There is nothing the CPF can do if there is no hard-core evidence. (Ps Donny)
Ronnie Rajin (2017:51-52) in his thesis presents the following:
According to Act 12 of 2004, corruption occurs when two or more accomplices make an unlawful agreement in exchange for payment in respect of a favourable treatment in the discharge of entrusted powers of state institution employees (South Africa, 2004 (a). For the first time legislation provides the government with established anticorruption agencies and the courts with powers to deal sternly with corruption. The strength of this legislation is as follows:
· A list of codified corruption offences related to specific persons. This implies that certain categories of persons can be brought before a court for corruption under a specific list and code in terms of the charge;
· It reinstates the common-law crime of bribery. Corruption is no longer only the domain of public sector officials, but is recognised as emanating from within the private sector as well;
· A list of codified corruption offences related to specific matters, including witness and evidential material depending on the seriousness of the cases. The witnesses would have to be treated accordingly and if protection is needed they must be placed under protection;
· Certain designated officials have a duty to report corruption or face stiff penalties. People in certain positions and work have an obligation to report corruption and if they avoid to do so they can be charged for that failure;
· The investigation and seizure of unexplained wealth. Individuals in society that accumulate wealth and are unable to prove that they have worked for that money; and if the accumulation was by other means than inheritance, an explanation is needed. If an unreasonable explanation is given the wealth will be seized; and,
· Act No 12 of 2004 provides a detailed definition of corruption and consists of a number of clauses and sub-clauses, making the understanding of corrupt acts and corruption easier (Newham & Faull 2011). Basdeo (2010: 385-400) indicates that strict penalties such as life imprisonment for individuals found guilty of corrupt offences should be meted out by the courts.
What happens to cops who are failing to do their job?
The community and SAPS need to work together. Community needs to stop standing up for the alleged suspects and let the police do their job. (Ps Donny)
An internet write up by the South African Government (2020) states you may lodge a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) if you want them to investigate:
- deaths in police custody
- deaths as a result of police actions
- any complaint relating to the discharge of an official firearm by any police officer
- rape by a police officer, whether the police officer is on or off duty
- rape of any person while in police custody
- any complaint of torture or assault against a police officer in the execution of duties.
You must open a case at your nearest police station and only report to the IPID Office if the police fail to assist you.
Minister: Bheki Cele, Gen
Street Address: 231 Pretorius Street, 756-7th floor Wachthuis Building, PRETORIA, 0002. 9th Floor 120 Plein Street, Parliament, Cape Town, 8000.
Cell: 079 302 0100
Landline: 012 3932 800.
The public suppose to be the ears and eyes of SAPS. If the community can become the ears and eyes of SAPS this will help and assist in cleaning up the community.
However, it needs to be taken into consideration that corruption is rife among the police, although there are some who are abstain from getting themselves involved in such activities. There are various reasons as to why police get involved in corruption and there are diverse types of corrupt approaches. In view of the fact that people in the community are aware and alert that some police are involved in corruption, has brought a sense of mistrust in the way that those who need to be brought to justice are dealt with. Some communities have taken the onus to take the law in their own hands. Police are there to serve the community and not their own selfish interests.
Police always push the buck onto the community as a means of not playing their part in getting suspects and criminals arrested. This seems to be of grave concern as police are aware where the gangsters are, drug lords are, and others who are a menace to society. Police turn a blind eye to it and would rather get people arrested for petty crimes as a means of doing their work proficiently and effectively. It is often noted that organized crime units need to be called in, or to conduct and operation to get the notorious suspects, drug dealers and criminals arrested. One begs to ask the question as to why police are deployed in a community if they cannot arrest those involved in criminal activities.
Corruption among police is also brought by those who fail to take proper statements and execute proper duties that is part and parcel of their job description. Too often these corrupt police officials expect the complainants to do the work of the police as though they are incapable or unaware as to what needs to be done. Police tipping off criminals as to charges brought against them and guiding those who are implicated as to how to come out of their predicaments is becoming common. Corrupt police have the tendency to inform those involved in crime related issues before arresting them as to who the complainants are is also increasing. Corrupt police also have the tendency to protect and defend their kids or relatives who are involved in crime related issues. Police officials also have delaying tactics in holding back files that should have been handed over to necessary departments so that there can be speed of cases in bringing the culprits to justice.
The concept of police blaming the justice system of South Africa for not dealing effectively with criminals, suspects or those involved in crime related issues, does not warrant them with an excuse to justify themselves for their corruption. Police are employed to offer service to the community and should not use their inadequate salaries as a scapegoat to be corrupt. Police are well aware of the salaries offered in the force and enter on the basis of what is stipulated. Police enter the force on the basis of being unemployed and desperately in need of employment. Those who intend to join the force and feel that the salaries are inadequate should find alternative employment. In spite of the risk factors placed on police this should not determine that their salaries should be doubled or tripled to perform their duties. Too many individuals including police joined the force on the basis of attaining employment and were comfortable with the salary offered. Why should this alter, or change, or lower their performance, or to act corruptly once recruited.
The internal politics of the police concerning rankings and salaries puts a poor reflection on the way they manage and deal with the criminals, suspects and crime related issues in society. Police tend to drag their feet when needed to deal with complaints in the society since they receive handouts from those needing to be arrested. Police who are longer in the force and are more familiar with corruption tend to call the shots and rub off their corrupt ideas onto new incoming police officials. New police officials are soon taught the ropes by the older ones and eventually find themselves reeled into corruption. While this is all going on the community suffers and eventually it turns into a lawless society.
Recommendations for Police-Community Relationship Building
Recommendations taken from theCommunity Relations Services Toolkit for Policing (2014)
Acknowledge and discuss with your communities the challenges you are facing.
Controversial uses of force and other incidents can damage relationships between police and their communities. In some cases, a perceived egregious act of misconduct by a single officer in one city not only damages police-community relationships locally; it can gain nationwide attention and reduce trust of the police generally. Police should acknowledge the history of racial minorities and others who have faced injustice at the hands of the police.
Be transparent and accountable.
Transparency is essential to positive police-community relationships. When a critical incident occurs, agencies should try to release as much information about it as possible, as soon as possible, so the community will not feel that information is being purposefully withheld from them. At the same time, it is also important to stress that the first information to emerge following a critical incident is preliminary and may change as more information becomes available. Police leaders should let the news media and the public know that early information may not be correct, and should correct any misinformation quickly. On a day-to-day level, police departments should post information on their websites detailing policies on use of force, community member complaints, and other issues. This information should be easily accessible to the community.
Maintain focus on the importance of collaboration, and be visible in the community.
It is important for the police to be visible in their communities and know their residents. Many people do not interact with the police outside of enforcement contexts. This can result in people developing negative associations with the police – for example, if the only contact they have ever had with police consisted of receiving a traffic citation or calling the police to report being the victim of a crime. Finding opportunities to interact with community members in a non-enforcement context helps to reduce bias on the part of community members and police officers. Getting to know community residents helps both groups to break down personal barriers and overcome stereotypes, and allows officers to learn which residents of a neighborhood are law-abiding and which ones are not. Police executives often report that law-abiding residents of high-crime neighborhoods resent it when police seem suspicious of everyone in the neighborhood, and, for example, make pedestrian stops of young men who are on their way to work or to school.
Personal interactions between police officers and community members build mutual trust, which is essential to addressing neighborhood problems and reducing crime. Programs and initiatives to foster these interactions include:
· Adult and youth police academies,
· Sports teams or “Police Athletic Leagues,”
· Ride-alongs with officers,
· Police involvement in local school activities, and
· Police participation in (or police-led) community events.
Police officials should see themselves as a part of the community they serve, and local government officials, police leaders, and community members should encourage the active involvement of officers as participants to help maintain the peace. For example, police officials may be invited to participate in peace marches, to attend local sporting events, or to attend neighbourhood barbeques or outdoor community “movie nights” for kids.
Promote internal diversity and ensure professional growth opportunities.
Police agencies need to present policing as a profession. Departments should work to recruit people who want to become officers based on a realistic understanding that the large majority of police officers’ time is spent addressing community requests and that actual “law enforcement” is a much smaller percentage of the time. Police agencies also should step up efforts in recruiting and promotional processes to increase overall diversity in their departments by race and many other demographics.
Internal processes of a department regarding recruiting, promotions, and other matters should be transparent and fair. When an agency creates an environment that promotes internal fairness and respect, officers are more likely to demonstrate these qualities in their daily interactions with the community.
Recommendations by Bayley and Perito (2020:10-12)
Insist on leadership from the top. Reform starts at the top; it does not percolate up from the bottom. If the top leadership in the police does not visibly and persistently lead reform, then change will not occur. Leaders must articulate what is expected, create opportunities to reinforce the message through personal appearances throughout the organization, especially with the rank and file, and raise public expectations about what police practices will be. Even in the face of significant contextual obstacles, managerial insistence on change, coupled with discipline, can change traditional behaviour. This requires senior leaders to accept responsibility for organizational behaviour, never excusing endemic corruption as being the fault of a few “bad apples.” It follows that all supervising officers, especially those on the front line, must be held to account for the misbehaviour of their subordinates. Police organizations are quasi-military; rank matters and directions are commands. To some extent, police can create their own norms, and though strict discipline has limits, it can, when targeted consistently at visible corruption, change behaviour. It may not change the hearts of police officers, but it can produce conforming action.
Think tactically. In reducing corruption, police should adopt what is referred to in the crime prevention literature as routine activities theory. Crime, particularly theft, is facilitated by the presence together in time and space of tempting targets, willing offenders, and an absence of guardians. Thus, even if police officers may not see bribery as wrong, they may be deterred from receiving them if the likelihood of being caught is high. Police organizations need to think of ways of calling attention to the standards expected and the penalties for disregarding bribes when they occur. Just because behaviour is not perceived as immoral does not mean that it is inevitable. Corruption, like criminality generally, is often a matter of individual cost-benefit calculations. Reformers should think of ways to remind officers about what is expected in particular situations. Signs can be posted at the receiving counters at police stations that complaints must be registered without monetary charge. Rules regarding access can be displayed on the doors to police property rooms. Written and thus auditable forms can be created for applications for sick leave, payments to informants, drawing of police supplies, and filing expense claims. Police property can be labelled plainly to deter appropriation for private use. The rights of vendors with respect to police inspection can be provided along with required licenses. Information about procedures for filing complaints can be posted in all police facilities to which the public has access. Injunctions about what is proper and improper can be posted prominently in police offices (e.g., “paid work unapproved in writing while on sick leave is stealing” or “these supplies must not be used for private purposes”).
Require discipline. In taking responsibility for corruption, police organizations must create the capacity to monitor, investigate, and discipline noncompliant behaviour. To do this, they need to create a specialized internal office with good resources, staff, and management. This office would report to a very senior officer and be independent of all other operational lines of authority. The commissions surveyed recommended that internal affairs units review all complaints about police officers: examine them for patterns of occurrence, undertake proactive investigations of suspected officers, monitor officers assigned to tasks where exposure to bribery is likely, recruit officers to work as informants about corruption in the units in which they work, and even test the integrity of officers by offering bribes.
Cultivate the public. Police should regard the public as an ally in efforts to reduce corruption, and thus should develop programs informing the public about anticorruption initiatives and publicizing procedures for complaining. This benefits reform in three ways. First, a public educated about what the police organization considers improper is more likely to resist solicitations for bribes. This reinforces the new norms and raises anxiety among officers that people may complain. Second, the public is the most important source of information about the forms that corruption takes and also whether reform efforts are succeeding; tapping public knowledge is essential to directing reform strategies and measuring their success. Third, when the public is shown that the police are serious about curbing corruption, respect for the police rises. This is psychologically rewarding to police officers, raising their self-esteem. They learn that being a police officer creates status, not just fear and anxiety, and begin to take pride in being police officers, which in turn gives them a vested interest in protecting the organization’s reputation. In short, when policing becomes a vocation rather than just a job, deviant behaviour is likely to decline.
Create independent, non-political oversight. This is the only corruption-reducing suggestion that is not under the complete control of the police. Whether it happens, however, depends crucially on whether the police accept the need for it. The function of external oversight is to hold the chief officer to account for creating the internal discipline that the law requires and the public wants. Its operational mode is investigation and monitoring; its leverage is through public reporting of its findings. In extreme circumstances, it may take over in particular cases so that manifest injustice does not continue or is not covered over. But this should only happen when the police have been shown to be unable or unwilling to perform as expected. External oversight cannot substitute for discipline administered by the police themselves. As several police commissions have recommended, the chief police officer should be responsible for all aspects of police performance and behaviour. The police will always know more about what happens within the organization than with outsiders. Police also have more standing than outsiders in legitimizing higher standards within the organization as well as the procedures for validating them. External oversight is needed to keep the organization up to the mark, but the work of discipline must be done by the organization itself.
Additional personal recommendations:
Ongoing lectures involving the criminality of acceptance of bribes in any form.
Emphasis on the vision, mission of SAPS and the negative image of corruption on the whole in the work environment.
Increased rates of payment of SAPS members above inflation.
Council of Europe. 2015. Risk Analysis of Corruption within Law Enforcement.
Hope, K. 2015. Police corruption and police reforms in developing societies.
Transparency International. 2016. People and Corruption: Middle East and North Africa Survey 2016.
USAID. 2007. USAID
Program Brief: Anti-Corruption and Police Integrity: Security Sector Reform
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RESEARCH STUDY CONDUCTED BY DR ANTHONY SMALL AND PUBLISHED ON 27 MAY 2020.