n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The murder of members of the South African Police Service : some findings on common causes and practical preventative steps

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



For a number of years members of the police in South Africa have experienced exceptionally high levels of attack. In addition, the murder of members (both on and off duty) has, since 1990, averaged more than 200 per annum - which in comparison with most other countries world-wide would appear to be excessive. Prior to the first-ever democratic elections in South Africa held in April 1994 many of these attacks and killings were ascribed to a number of political motives or as part of the liberation struggle. However, the post-1994 continuation of the high levels of murder of police members has been of concern since the ostensible political reasons were supposedly removed in the wake of the 1994 democratic elections. In May 1999 a National Multi-disciplinary Committee was appointed by the Minister for Safety and Security. The Research Sub-committee of this Committee was instructed to examine the reasons why the attacks on and killing of police members has continued at such high levels and also to investigate what could be done to protect the members of the police service, not only in their work environment but also off duty and in their homes, from attacks and murder. This paper outlines some of the main findings of the research team and makes some recommendations with regard to practical steps to prevent such murders.

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