n Journal of Public Administration - Professionalisation in the public service and academia : a scientific perspective from a house divided

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The article focuses on the present debate between police practitioners [the South African Police Service (SAPS)] and academics, as well as among academics themselves within the broad criminal justice field in South Africa, as to whether a qualification in Police Service Management as developed by the Police Service of South Africa should be offered at tertiary level , or whether lecturers in Policing and Criminology should be regarded as professionals within their own right and with their own qualifications, functioning within their own Qualifications Board which will have, inter alia, its own ethical and disciplinary codes.

Based on scientific argument, this article concludes that the Police Service's management type qualification cannot be seen as a professional qualification and that Criminology and Policing, like many other social or behavioural sciences, do not qualify as professions either. To register members on a so-called professional register and then to discipline them in terms of a professional code, would therefore be inappropriate. The authors argue that although most working people would like to be called professional, the concept "professional" should rather be avoided when referring to police practitioners and criminologists, penologists, police scientists and victimologists.

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