n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Strategic issues in the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the first decade of democracy

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Very high incidences of violent crimes in South Africa are a reality. The article draws attention to important issues that could have been strategically addressed in the first twelve years of democratic policing by the South African policing authorities to successfully manage the problem. Working with Liddell-Hart's idea that "Grand or higher Strategy" is "policy in execution", namely that it coordinates and directs all the resources of a nation, towards the attainment of the goal defined by fundamental policy, as well as Rejai's main components for strategy namely leadership, ideology and organization, the article analyses the South African Police Service's managerial response to the threat of crime in the first twelve years since the democratic election in 1994.

It is argued that in the period of transformation that the SA Police Service had to manage, when policing had to change from an authoritarian style to a democratic style of policing, the transformational issues impacted negatively on the leadership component of the strategic approach, as well as the new ideological base. Although a police service is not responsible for the perpetration of crime, nor the only role player in handling crime, the fact is that the statistics on South Africa on violent crime remain extremely high, emphasizing the fact from a strategic point of view, that leadership and clear ideological direction failed in the period under analysis, but at the same time, again emphasizing the importance of leadership and clear policies for crime combating.

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