This paper discusses the findings of fifteen focus groups that explored civilian perceptions and experience of police corruption in South Africa. The research was conducted in and around three cities, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, in mid-2010. The paper suggests that a 'tough' approach to policing is unlikely to win public favour or change public perceptions. Instead the South African Police Service (SAPS) needs to concentrate on moulding itself into an organisation of well-trained professionals. Above all, the police have to treat South Africa's citizens respectfully.