What has caused police officers to become offenders and suspects to be victims of police brutality? The fact is that our police officers are not well-trained.
The continuation of police violence is deep-rooted in the lack of all-inclusive training to equip members of the SAPS with skills and strategies in dealing with challenges such as suspects’ lack of compliance and dealing with them by the Criminal Procedure Act No. 51 of 1977, section 49 (2).
Police training is lacking in two areas, namely interviewing skills and a legal approach to restricting a suspect. The training that they obtain does not speak to the challenges that they encounter while executing their duties on the street. The absence of an appropriate approach to certain crime situations resulted in the adoption of illegal methods of restraining and arresting as well as in banned methods of interrogation that are against the law and a violation of the human rights of suspects. Once they apply illegal methods it means they’re committing a crime which in most cases results in Police brutality.
Here is the recent case study; Nine SAPS members have presented themselves before Durban Magistrate Court in connection with the death in police cells of one of the three suspects in 2018 after it was suspected they have beaten him to death. The men who were being questioned were suspected of buying a gun that was used in a murder. The nine officers have been granted bail of R3 000 each for murder. Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson, Grace Langa says the director of public prosecutions gave orders for the arrest of the nine police officers this week.
Langa further said more arrests are not being ruled out. It is suspected that officers from the Chatsworth Police Station, and Durban Flying Squad, and the organized crime unit arrested the three men at a filling station in Chatsworth. The deceased was picked up from Montford Drive, in Chatsworth, together with two more male individuals. They were questioned about the firearm, assaulted, and tortured. It is suspected that on 29 August at about 3 am the deceased collapsed at the station. The nine officers are expected to be back in court next Wednesday.
Here are four ways to deal with police brutality in South Africa; Improve police training, Courts should not take evidence taken through police excessive use of force, there must be public awareness on the importance of lodging a complaint about abuse of power by police, and educating members of the public about civil litigation.
In conclusion, The tradition of police brutality that still affects South African communities is not an old or new South African thing, as it appears to be firmly engraved in a police culture that persisted in embracing force and violence as operational tools.
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