n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The functioning of the Hatfield Criminal Court : a police perspective

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The Hatfield Court, which was officially opened on 7 April 2004, is a public-private partnership between the Department of Justice, the University of Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Tshwane Metropolitan Council, the South African Police Service and the Department of Correctional Services. This specialised court was established to address petty offences such as pick pocketing, cell phone theft as well as drug and alcohol abuse in the Hatfield area.

Since the Hatfield Court Project is the first of its kind in the country, the aim of this study was to understand the functioning of the Hatfield court from the perspective of the police officials who work at the Brooklyn Police Station and who deal with the court on a daily basis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 57 police officials (members drawn from the ranks of senior management, investigating officers, detectives, as well as officers working at the Client Service Centre, the police cells and the Crime Prevention Unit). From the findings it is evident that this court manages petty offence cases effectively, while it speeds up the work of the Pretoria Court. In spite of various growing pains that still need to be addressed, all the police officials who participated in the research (100%) were of the opinion that this pilot project should be extended.


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