SA Crime Quarterly - Volume 2013, Issue 46, 2013
Volumes & issues
Volume 2013, Issue 46, 2013
Author Chandre GouldSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 3 –4 (2013)More Less
When, early in 2013, we began planning this edition of SACQ to focus on policing, we expected that by the time of publication the Farlam Commission investigating the Marikana massacre would have concluded. We also expected that the commission of inquiry established by the Western Cape provincial government to look into policing problems in Khayelitsha (the O'Regan Commission) would be close to concluding its work. The findings and recommendations of these commissions, we hoped, would offer important insights into what is troubling policing in South Africa, and what needs to change. This was unfortunately not to be. Both commissions have been fraught with legal challenges that have delayed their progress, and neither is likely to conclude until some way into 2014. Despite this, we have retained policing as a focus for this edition.
Author Bill DixonSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 5 –11 (2013)More Less
Although the Farlam Commission of Inquiry is yet to report, it has been widely assumed in the blogosphere, across large sections of the traditional media, and in some preliminary academic analyses too, that the shootings at Marikana on 16 August 2012 are symptomatic of a police force in thrall to a political elite intimately connected to international capital and increasingly corporatised and unrepresentative trade unions. Against this background, this article looks to the notion of 'relative autonomy', considered in a classic discussion of 'the concept of policing in critical theories of criminal justice' by Otwin Marenin, to suggest that critics of the SAPS should not be surprised if, in moments of crisis, the police act as the agents of 'specific domination' rather than as guarantors of a 'general order'. It will go on to argue that, even if their worst fears are confirmed by Farlam, their conclusion about the nature of the relationship between the SAPS and a political elite may be too sweeping. Using insights from recent studies of everyday policing, it will suggest that the way in which the police respond to strikes, service delivery protests and other politically charged incidents may tell us surprisingly little about what officers actually do, and why they do it, in the course of their everyday interactions with individual citizens and interest groups less politically well-connected than the main protagonists at Marikana. In conclusion it is argued that, in the absence of significant social change to remedy the structural inequalities bequeathed by apartheid, the SAPS has not been able to transcend its colonial inheritance, leaving the business of police reform begun over 20 years ago unfinished.
Author Elrena Van der SpuySource: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 13 –22 (2013)More Less
The occupational culture of police organisations has long fascinated policing scholars. In the Anglo-American world ethnographic enquiries have contributed much to our understanding of police perceptions, beliefs and actions. This article takes a closer look at efforts to describe and analyse police culture in South Africa. Three genres of writings are considered. Structural accounts of police culture and ethnographic accounts of the police are briefly discussed before turning to a more detailed consideration of a third and emerging genre: police autobiographies. Two recent autobiographies written by former policemen are explored in some detail with the view to considering the contribution of the autobiography to our understanding of the complex occupational dynamics of police and policing in South Africa.
Author Claudia Forster-TowneSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 23 –34 (2013)More Less
This article discusses the racialised and dichotomous way in which suburban reservists articulate their motivations for joining the South African Police Service (SAPS); namely, that white reservists are believed to join as a hobby whereas black reservists join for an opportunity to gain employment. Using interviews, this article illustrates how these perspectives are tied to broader societal expectations, which are informed in and through race and class relations. It concludes with a call for further research to build on this largely exploratory research.
Author Andrew FaullSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 35 –48 (2013)More Less
This article sketches the views and experiences of police officials responsible for enforcing liquor legislation in the Nyanga precinct of Cape Town. It is intended as a complementary response to Herrick & Charman's article, Shebeens and crime: The multiple criminalities of South African liquor and its regulation (SACQ 45) and should be read together with that piece. Their article drew on data gathered from shebeen owners and raised important questions about the efficacy and potential harm of the policing of shebeens. By describing incidents of alcohol-related law enforcement, this article suggests that such work can be as difficult and confusing for law enforcers as it is for those being policed. It supports Herrick and Charman's suggestion that current approaches to alcohol-related enforcement need to be interrogated in order to reduce harms without alienating communities.
Author Megan GovenderSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 49 –60 (2013)More Less
A disjuncture exists between perceptions of crime and the actual levels of recorded crime. The 2012/13 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service reveal an overall decrease in serious crime between 2002/03 and 2012/13. Yet, during this period, suspicions lingered among the public and media that crime was actually increasing. This article investigates the reporting of crime and demonstrates that household perceptions of property crime and violent crime can be interpreted and reported in contradictory ways. It can be variously shown that most households feel that crime has not decreased, nor do they feel it has increased and nor do they feel it has stayed the same. Consequently, the reporting of the perceptions of crime needs to be carefully and explicitly communicated to mitigate any confusion that may ensue.
Source: SA Crime Quarterly 2013, pp 62 –66 (2013)More Less
Olly Owen is a junior research fellow in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. In 2012 he completed his doctorate in Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford. This involved an ethnographic study of, and fieldwork with, the Nigerian Police Force. Andrew Faull is a doctoral research student at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. His research also involves an ethnographic study of police, the South African Police Service. He completed nine months of fieldwork with the SAPS in April 2013. In this frank exchange Olly and Andrew discuss their observations relating to performance management in the respective agencies.