Not everybody's business: community policing in the SAPS'Priority Areas

Tags: community policing, respondents, SAPS, implementation, community, South Africa, station level, problem solving, Safety and Security, priority areas, awareness campaigns, public perceptions, policy implementation, public knowledge, White Paper, local government, functioning, South African Police Service, local police services, community police officers, crime analysis, crime prevention, Policy Framework, community involvement, crime prevention projects, MEC, police performance, community activities, police stations, police station, CPF functioning, survey respondents
Content: CONTENTS NOT EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS COMMUNITY POLICING IN THE SAPS' PRIORITY AREAS Eric Pelser, Johann Schnetler & Antoinette Louw ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES AUTHORS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CHAPTER 1 Introduction CHAPTER 2 Methodology CHAPTER 3 South Africa's changing community policing policy CHAPTER 4 Implementation of the community policing policy CHAPTER 5 Effectiveness of policy implementation: the practitioner's view CHAPTER 6 Impact of the community policing policy: the SAPS' view CHAPTER 7 Public perceptions of policing in the SAPS' priority Areas CHAPTER 8 The public reach of the community police forums CHAPTER 9 Police service in the priority areas
CHAPTER 10 Conclusion NOTES ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This monograph is funded by the European Union, USAID, the US Embassy, Ford Foundation and Standard Bank, for the ISS' criminal justice monitor project. The authors gratefully acknowledge the various contributions made by the individuals and organisations below, without whom this study could not have been written. The British Government's Department for International Development. The South African Police Service's Assistant Commissioner George Moorcroft and Director Wessel van der Westhuizen. Aki Stavrou, Lizette Meyer, Patrick Burton and the field-team leaders and field-workers of DRA-Development, who conducted the fieldwork in sometimes challenging conditions on time and within budget. The many police officers, representatives of the provincial Departments for Public Safety and members of the Community Police Forums and Area and Provincial Boards who gave so much time and responded so sincerely to the questionnaires. LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1 Police stations and area offices selected for the study TABLE 2 Police station and area office respondents TABLE 3 Number of respondents in each province TABLE 4 Gender of respondents TABLE 5 Race of respondents
TABLE 6 The development of community policing policy, 1993 ­ 1999 TABLE 7 The meaning of community policing TABLE 8 The purpose of partnership between the police and the community TABLE 9 CPF activities TABLE 10 Has enough been done to ensure effective implementation of the policy? TABLE 11 Does the structure of the SAPSassist local police responsiveness? TABLE 12 Is the support provided from the supervisory level above you sufficient? TABLE 13 Should specific regulations be published for the CPFs? TABLE 14 Victimisation in the priority areas TABLE 15 The public's view of what the police should do to improve public confidence TABLE 16 Public knowledge of the functions of the CPF TABLE 17 Public expectations when entering a police station or reporting a crime TABLE 18 Treatment of complainants in the police station TABLE 19 For those who reported a crime, did the police... TABLE 20 Did the police tell those reporting a crime that... TABLE 21 Extent of police follow-up with complainant before an arrest (follow-up survey) TABLE 22
Extent of police follow-up with complainant after an arrest (follow-up survey) TABLE 23 What should the police do to improve their service at the station? LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1 Public perceptions of crime in areas of residence: 1996 ­ 2000 FIGURE 2 Public perceptions of policing FIGURE 3 Public confidence in the police FIGURE 4 Public awareness of the CPFs FIGURE 5 Public awareness of the CPFs FIGURE 6 Public awareness of a CPF functioning in area of residence FIGURE 7 Public knowledge of CPF projects in area of residence FIGURE 8 Public support for participation in community safety projects FIGURE 9 public participation in CPF activities FIGURE 10 The public reach of the CPFs FIGURE 11 Primary source of information on CPF and activities FIGURE 12 Reason for visiting the police station, exit poll FIGURE 13 Nature of dockets sampled in the follow-up survey FIGURE 14 Time taken before the phone was answered at the police station, follow-up survey FIGURE 15
The declining number of complainants who were kept informed about their case AUTHORS Eric Pelser is a senior researcher at the Crime and Justice Programme of the ISS. Before joining the Institute in October 1999, Eric worked in the Department of Safety and Security, first in the new South African Police Service and then, for the next three years, in the Policy Planning Division of the National Secretariat for Safety and Security. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Africa and a Master's degree in Public and Development Management from the University of the Witwatersrand. Johann Schnetler (BA Hons (Philosophy), Mth) is the head of the Research Section within the strategic management Component of the South African Police Service. He is responsible, among others, for the co-ordinating and facilitating of all research in the SAPS, the compilation of a National Strategic Plan and the evaluation of services. Antoinette Louw is head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the ISS. She has been researching crime, violence and criminal justice in South Africa since 1991 when she joined the Centre for Social and Development Studies at the University of Natal. Since 1997 when she joined the ISS, her work in the policy research field has covered victimisation surveys, Crime Prevention policy and practice, policing, and public perceptions of justice and safety. Antoinette has an MA in political studies from the University of Natal. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Background This study is intended to describe and assess the implementation of South Africa's community policing policy. It is based on research, conducted between 22 August and 15 October 2000, commissioned by the British Department for International Development for the South African Police Service (SAPS), and is published with the kind permission of the SAPS. The research started with a detailed scan of the legislation, policy and other documents relevant to the development and implementation of community policing in South Africa. Next followed a series of interviews with senior police management and community policing practitioners in all the nine provinces, 32 SAPS area command structures and with personnel at 45 police stations selected from the 219 SAPS' priority police stations. In addition to the police and practitioner interviews, three public opinion surveys were conducted. These consisted of: a general community perception survey in which 13 659 respondents residing within a 10 km radius of the 45 selected police stations were interviewed; an exit poll in which 2 286 people who had been into one of the 45 selected police stations were questioned as they left the police station; and a follow-up survey in which 1 361 people who had reported an incident to one of the 45 selected police stations within a 3-month time period were questioned about the quality of service they had received from the police. The study provides a representative analysis of the implementation of community policing in the SAPS priority areas. However, the diversity in the range of the areas and police stations accessed in the study (urban and rural, advantaged and disadvantaged) together with the fact that there was significant input from provincial role-players, means that the issues raised in the monograph may well be relevant to the implementation of community policing across the country. Key findings The policy guiding the implementation of community policing in South Africa has, while consistently focusing on the
functions of the Community Policing Forums (CPFs), substantially shifted in emphasis in the course of the past eight years. Initially focusing on oversight of the police, the objectives of the policy have moved through a focus on relationshipbuilding and the creation of 'partnerships' to help improve police services towards a much greater concentration on community mobilisation for social crime prevention. However, the CPFs have a very limited public reach, and cannot be considered representative of the communities in which they function. Further, as CPF practitioners do not appear to engage with their core functions in the manner outlined in the policy and legislation, the CPFs are, in their current form and functioning, poorly placed to engage meaningfully in local safety, security and policing issues. This is mostly attributable to the continuing lack of practical and systematic support from the state; support that is required by legislation. Therefore, implementation of the changing policy has not been effective in relation to its common core goals, which are: ensuring wide-ranging input on community needs and priorities, improving police responsiveness to these needs, and developing a common sense of public responsibility towards, and capacity for, addressing crime. Public safety, security and policing in the SAPS priority areas therefore remain a long way away from being seen as a common responsibility, or everybody's business. They remain, in the perceptions of the general public, still very much 'police business'. The public in the SAPS priority areas, many of whom have been victims of crime, are generally sceptical of the effectiveness of the police, concerned about police corruption, and not particularly enthusiastic about general interaction with the police. Members of the public either believe that crime in their areas of residence has increased over the past four years, or that the police have made little significant impact on criminal activity. They also believe that the quality of policing in these areas has not changed perceptibly, or that it has become worse over the past four years; therefore they remain ambivalent regarding the police. Despite these general perceptions, the majority of those members of the public who sought and received police services were satisfied with them. This positive response was attributed to the professional, supportive and prompt service they received from the police. The difference between the negative general public perceptions and the positive perceptions of people who had direct contact with the police is indicative of the extent to which external factors, about which the police can do little, can influence attitudes. These factors include standards of living, access to other government services, access to information, media reporting, Interpersonal Communication and general perceptions of governance, and of safety. Indeed, the research shows that most of the police in the community safety centres (or charge offices) in the priority police station areas are doing well. They are meeting the relatively high expectations of those who need their services and are, therefore, generating high levels of client satisfaction at least in the initial stages of the processing of cases. More important for this study, it is difficult to attribute the satisfaction of those who received police services to the implementation of the community policing policy. This is because, firstly, implementation of the policy has not been effective in terms of its primary focus, the functions of the CPFs; and, secondly, no data exists by which to compare current police services and public perceptions with those that pertained prior to the implementation of the policy. What has been established, however, is that together with a range of other measures associated with the country's democratisation, the policy has succeeded in opening a previously closed organisation to greater public scrutiny, study and interaction. It is this, as well as the political emphasis over the past three to four years on improving service delivery in all government departments, to which one may more plausibly attribute improvements to basic police services. CHAPTER 1 Introduction As indicated by a number of commentators, 'community policing' can mean different things to different people.1 So, for more conservative policy-makers, the phrase is likely to mean 'policing the community', that is, law enforcement to keep
the community safe, while for the more liberal, the phrase is likely to mean 'policing with the community'--that is, problem-solving to help communities to keep themselves safe. Although these understandings imply very different policing approaches and strategies, all may relate to community policing. As William Lyons puts it: "...the conceptual foundations of community policing range from nostalgic images [of the police and of communities], to management strategies, to visions of communities strong enough to police themselves".2 Such conceptual vagueness helps explain the popularity of the concept in recent discourse on police transformation. Indeed, a local analyst has attributed this popularity to the 'seductive quality' of its core tenets.3 What are these core tenets? Clifford Shearing provides a succint analysis: The first is a change in definition of the police from a 'force' to a 'service'. An important expression of this change has been the development of 'consultative forums' designed to permit communities to make their policing concerns known to the police and to provide a vehicle for holding the police accountable to them. Second, is the reconception of the police as people who enable communities to solve their own problems rather than as people who solve problems on their own. Policing for the state police has become 'everybody's business' rather than simply 'police business'.4 This summary will no doubt resonate for South African readers. The 1993 Interim Constitution enabled the establishment of Community Police Forums at South Africa's police stations and, shortly after the first democratic elections in 1994, the then South African Police changed its name to the South African Police Service (SAPS). These were the first steps towards the development and implementation of South Africa's community policing policy. Since then, this policy has been articulated in the South African Police Service Act (No. 68 of 1995) and, in 1996, it was detailed in a dedicated policy document of the Department of Safety and Security. This monograph is intended to describe and assess the implementation of this policy. CHAPTER 2 Methodology Research design The research conducted for this study was designed to provide answers to two questions: How has the Department of Safety and Security's community policing policy been implemented in the SAPS' priority areas? What effect, if any, has implementation of the policy had on the police and those they serve in the priority areas? The research was conducted between 22 August and 15 October 2000. Starting with a detailed scan of the legislation, policy and other documents relevant to the development and implementation of community policing in South Africa, the research continued with a series of interviews with police management and CPF practitioners at the provincial, area and police station levels.5 At the provincial level, 56 structured face-to-face interviews were conducted in each province with: the provincial Commissioners; the provincial Heads of Crime Prevention; the provincial Heads of Detectives; the provincial Community Policing Co-ordinators; the provincial Service Delivery Improvement Programme Facilitators; the chairpersons of the Provincial Community Policing Board; and the heads of the provincial Department for Safety and Security or Liaison (the secretariats).
These interviews were conducted with the counterparts of the provincial SAPS and CPF respondents at 45 police stations spread over all the provinces, and the 32 area offices these stations report to. The 45 stations were selected via a two-stage multi-level cluster sampling technique. This was based on the number of provincial priority stations as a proportion of the total priority stations; the nine priority stations identified by the Office of the President (one per province); and the rank of the station commissioner--which, given the formula used by the SAPS to determine the appropriate rank of a station commissioner, serves as a proxy for the size of the station and as a proxy for population density. The 45 police stations report to 32 area management offices, which were automatically selected following the identification of the stations to be studied. Table 1 indicates the stations selected for the study and the area offices to which they report. Table 1: Police stations and area offices selected for the study
KwaZulu-Natal Free State
Gauteng
16 stations ­ 4 Areas Nqutu ­ Ulundi C.R. Swart ­ Durban Mtubatuba ­ Umfolozi Inanda* ­ Durban Amanzimtoti ­ Durban Port Shepstone ­ Umzimkulu
7 stations ­ 3 Areas Park Road ­ Southern FS Botshabelo ­ Southern FS Thabang* ­ Northern FS Meloding ­ Northern FS Bethlehem ­ Eastern FS Phuthaditjhaba ­ Eastern FS Ficksburg - Eastern FS
6 stations ­ 5 Areas Alexandra ­ JHB JHB Central ­ JHB Brooklyn ­ Pretoria Katlehong* ­ East Rand Benoni ­ North Rand Orlando ­ Soweto
Eastern Cape Western Cape Northern Cape
8 stations ­ 5 Areas Idutywa ­ Queenstown Tsolo* ­ Umtata Umtata ­ Umtata Kamesh ­ Uitenhage East London ­ East London Bisho ­ East London Motherwell ­ P. Elizabeth Walmer ­ P. Elizabeth
5 stations ­ 4 Areas Gugulethu ­ West Metropole Mitchell's Plain* ­ West Metropole Delft ­ East Metropole Worcester ­ Boland Knysna ­ Southern Cape
2 stations ­ 2 Areas Upington ­ Gordonia Galeshewe* ­ Diamond Field
Mpumalanga Northern Province North West
3 stations ­ 3 Areas
4 stations ­ 3 Areas
Embalenhle ­
Warm Baths ­ Bushveld
East Highveld
Pietersburg ­ Central
Kanyamanzane* ­
Nebo ­ Central
Lowveld
Thohoyandou* ­Far North
Witbank ­ Highveld
(* indicates a Presidential priority station)
4 stations ­ 3 Areas GaRankuwa ­ Marico Mogwase ­ Marico Mafikeng* ­ Molopo Klerksdorp ­ Mooi River
Table 2: Police station and area office respondents
Police station
Area office
The Station Commissioner The Head of Crime Prevention The Head of Detectives The Community Policing Co-ordinator The Service Delivery Improvement Programme Facilitators The Chairperson of the local CPF
The Area Commissioner The Area Head of Crime Prevention The Area Head of Detectives The Community Policing Co-ordinators The Service Delivery Improvement Programme Facilitators The Chairpersons CPF Area Board
270 interviews scheduled ­ 229 conducted
198 interviews scheduled ­ 169 conducted
The small deficits in reaching the target number of interviews are attributable to a range of factors. These included: Personnel were in the process of being appointed to some of the relevant posts. The field teams sometimes found that a particular officer had left, or had been promoted out of a position, and that a replacement had not yet been appointed. The officer was away on sick or study leave. The functions of the Service Delivery Improvement Programme (SDIP) facilitator and the Community Police Coordinator were shared by a single officer in some instances. He or she would obviously be interviewed only once. Interviewees were sometimes unavailable or were called out of interviews because of operational duties. Some CPF representatives did not make themselves available during the time the field teams were in their localities, often because the chairperson of the CPF was away. In some instances the CPF was dysfunctional and without leadership. In addition to interviewing police officers and members of the CPFs, three public surveys were conducted. These consisted of: a general community perception survey, in which 13 659 respondents residing within a 10km radius of the 45 selected police stations were interviewed; an exit poll, in which 2 286 people who had been into one of the 45 selected police stations were questioned as they left the police station; and a follow-up survey, in which 1 361 people who had reported an incident to one of the 45 selected police stations within a 3-month time period were interviewed. Thirty dockets were randomly selected from those available at each of the selected police stations, and the complainants in those dockets were contacted either by telephone or, in instances where a selected complainant did not have a telephone, at home. Demographic detail of the community surveys is outlined in the following tables.
Table 3: Number of respondents in each province
Community survey Exit poll Follow-up survey
n
Eastern Cape
2 419
Free State
2 134
Gauteng
1 842
KZN
1 835
Western Cape 1 500
Northern Province 1 205
North West
1 195
Mpumalanga
927
Northern Cape
602
%
n
%
n
%
18
401 18
241
18
16
361 16
240
18
14
311 14
184
14
13
301 13
181
13
11
248 11
150
11
9
201 9
118
9
9
208 9
96
7
7
155 7
91
7
4
100 4
60
4
Total
13 659 100 2 286 100 1 361 100
Table 4: Gender of respondents
Community survey Exit poll Follow-up survey
n
%
n
%
n
%
Male
7 386
54
1 234 54
780
58
Female
6 255
46
1 046 46
575
42
Total 13 641
100 2 280 100 1 355
100
Table 5: Race of respondents
Community survey Exit poll Follow-up survey
n
%
n
%
n
%
African
10 545
77
1 814 80
919
68
White
1 519
11
196 9
264
20
Coloured
1 319
10
248 11
145
11
Indian
255
2
25
1
23
2
Total
13 638
100 2 283 100 1 351
100
Limitations of the methodology This methodology is limited by two factors. First, the decision made by the SAPS to focus the study on a sample drawn only from the priority station areas. The priority stations themselves were selected because they record high crime rates or because they fall within one of the communities targeted by the Presidential Urban Renewal Initiative. This means that these stations are likely to have been the focus of dedicated attention from police management for some time. Further, because of the crime rate and the attention from police management, SAPS personnel in these stations are likely to face greater pressure to deliver a quality service to the public than personnel in those stations not affected by such serious rates of crime. Further, community role-players in these areas are also more likely to be actively engaged in issues of crime and policing. Second, the research focused on the views about community policing and service delivery of the primary roleplayers and, in the community surveys, on public perceptions of the police. It is therefore possible that respondents' perceptions may present a picture that is either better, or worse, than the reality. These two factors limit the ability to generalise the results of the research. However, the study does provide a representative analysis of the implementation of community policing, the views of the primary practitioners on that implementation, as well as the views of the public on police services in the priority station areas. Also, given the diverse range of areas and police stations accessed in the study--and the fact that there was significant input from provincial role-players, the issues raised in the monograph may well have relevance for the implementation of community policing across the country. CHAPTER 3 South Africa's changing community policing policy Policy The policy which guides the implementation of community policing in South Africa has, while consistently focusing on the functions of the CPFs, substantially shifted in emphasis in the course of the past eight years. The development of the policy is outlined below.6 The first formal reference to community policing, as the prescribed approach, style or methodology for policing in democratic South Africa, is found in the Interim Constitution, Act 200 of 1993. In Section 221 (1) and (2) the Interim Constitution directed that an Act of Parliament was to "provide for the establishment of community-police forums in respect of police stations", the functions of which would include: the promotion of the accountability of the Service to local communities and co-operation of communities with the service; the monitoring of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Service; advising the Service regarding local policing priorities; the evaluation of the provision of visible policing services, including: the provision, siting and staffing of police stations; the reception and processing of complaints and charges; the provision of protective services at gatherings; the patrolling of residential and business areas; and the prosecution of offenders; and
requesting enquiries into policing matters in the locality concerned. The oversight role made explicit here in the emphasis on setting priorities with the police, and monitoring and evaluating the police, suggests a greater public influence in policing matters than in many other models of community policing. This oversight role was enhanced in Section 222 of the Interim Constitution, which directed that the Act was to provide for the establishment of an independent complaints mechanism to ensure that police misconduct could be investigated by objective parties. Thus the political imperative informing community policing was one of accountability. The police were to be legitimised by enhancing public oversight generally, and particularly by enhancing interaction, consultation and accountability at police station level. This emphasis on accountability was continued with the publication of the new government's first formal policy statement on safety and security in mid-1994--the Minister's draft policy document entitled "Change". This placed particular emphasis on the democratic control of the police service, and community involvement in safety and security issues. In advocating greater democratic accountability, the policy statement also addressed the inter-related issues of demilitarisation, decentralisation and community consultation. In doing so, it contextualised the transformation of the police service within the ambit of community policing. As the new Minister put it, community policing "... must be made to permeate every aspect and level of policing". Despite this emphasis, it is precisely this aspect of fundamental transformation of the manner in which policing is structured, organised and acted out that has arguably received the least attention. The principles described above were legislated for in the South African Police Service Act of 1995, which formalised the rationalisation and amalgamation of the 11 existing police agencies into a single national SAPS with a single command structure. The Act formally established a civilian Secretariat for Safety and Security with oversight and monitoring functions and created the Independent Complaints Directorate envisaged by the Interim Constitution. It also formally established and detailed the functioning of the Community Police Forums (CPFs). In doing so, the Act contained the first shift in focus for the CPFs. Whereas in the Interim Constitution the oversight functions of local accountability, monitoring and evaluation for CPFs had been emphasised, the Act established the CPFs with liaison and communication functions. Indeed, the Act stressed that the CPFs were to function primarily to enable improved police-community liaison and communication. Specifically, the Act stipulated that such liaison was to focus on facilitating improved problem-solving and promoting greater co-operation and police transparency and, through this, local accountability. In a nutshell, the legislation directing the functions of the CPFs emphasised three key responsibilities: "... (i) the improvement of police-community relations; (ii) the oversight of policing at local level; and (iii) the mobilization of the community to take joint responsibility in the fight against crime." 8 These responsibilities are dichotomous and, in fact, contradictory. The challenges this cluster of divergent tasks posed for the practical functioning of the CPFs have been pointed out as follows: "Is it reasonable to believe, for instance, that given the history of conflict between the police and communities, that a structure that was designed both to improve relations and oversee the police would succeed in both functions. Is it plausible that in communities where police were perceived to be oppressors and where the police believe that the most constructive crime prevention is police-led, that many members of the community would willingly give of their time and resources to assist the police in fighting crime?" 9 To add to this, one may ask whether it is plausible to believe that in other localities, those in which the police were more likely to be given public support, people would care about oversight? Nevertheless, the Act made it the responsibility of the police, particularly the station, area and provincial Commissioners, to establish CPFs at police stations, and area and provincial boards. However, Cabinet approval and the publication in May 1996 of South Africa's National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), which defined crime as a multi-dimensional social issue rather than a one-dimensional security issue, again
shifted thinking as to the function of the CPFs. The NCPS acknowledged, amongst other things, that the state could not deal with crime alone. Hence it advocated improving public responsibility for reducing the high levels of crime through maximising public participation in crime reduction initiatives. It also advocated a multi-departmental approach to the prevention of crime, which entailed high levels of co-operation and co-ordination of the activities of different government departments, as well as between the three spheres of government. In doing so, the NCPS aimed to provide the means by which the police, other government departments, the private sector and the non-governmental community (NGO) could integrate their activities. This put the idea of partnership firmly on the safety and security agenda. The issue of partnership was taken up in greater detail when, in April 1997, the Department of Safety and Security published its formal policy on community policing--the Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines. Developed through a consultative process over a three-year period, the Policy Framework defined community policing in terms of a collaborative, partnership-based approach to local level problem solving. The policy therefore articulated a shift in priorities from ensuring oversight and accountability to improving service delivery and encouraging participatory or partnership approaches to crime reduction. Written to provide direction for police managers, the policy document detailed step-by-step guidelines for establishing CPFs, for change management, for demographic and local level Crime Analysis, for the development of partnerships and for local level problem solving. The Department of Public Service and Administration's Batho Pele White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery also emphasised client-focused public services and the setting of standards for this service. This was the first explicit expression of community policing as a methodology for improving the service provided by the police. The five core elements of community policing in South Africa were defined as: Service orientation: the provision of a professional policing service, responsive to community needs and accountable for addressing these needs; Partnership: the facilitation of a co-operative, consultative process of problem solving; Problem solving: the joint identification and analysis of the causes of crime and conflict and the development of innovative measures to address these; Empowerment: the creation of joint responsibility and capacity for addressing crime; and Accountability: the creation of a culture of accountability for addressing the needs and concerns of communities.10 The last of these was outlined primarily in terms of the functions of various structures like the National and Provincial Secretariats, the Independent Complaints Directorate and the members of the Provincial Legislatures responsible for safety and security (the MECs). The Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines was distributed to all police training institutions and stations. Informative workshops with police officers, many sponsored by international donors and facilitated by NGOs, were held throughout the country. In addition, a colour comic book (entitled Safer Streets) which incorporated the Community Policing Policy Framework and provided guidelines for the establishment and functioning of the CPFs was published by the Department in all 11 languages, for use by CPF practitioners. Shortly after this, however, the Department of Safety and Security published its White Paper--approved by Cabinet in September 1998--which again shifted the role of the CPFs. Although affirming community policing as the appropriate methodology for enhancing policing in South Africa, the White Paper explicitly provided for strengthening the capacity of elected Local government to 'supplement' the functions of the CPFs. This was to apply particularly in the areas of determining local policing priorities, and crime prevention initiatives. The White Paper enhanced the shift in CPF functions towards greater collaboration with, and assistance to, the police. Although implicitly downgrading some of the functions of the CPF, the White Paper sought to position these structures as a means of communication and liaison, to facilitate local government's new role in local level crime prevention. In addition, the White Paper advocated a review of the appropriateness of the policy and the manner of its implementation,
specifically as a means of providing "clearer guidelines for co-operation between local government and CPFs".11 In summary then, the major policy shifts affecting South Africa's community policing policy and, therefore, the CPFs, can be tracked chronologically as follows: An initial emphasis from 1993-1995 on oversight of the police, characterised by explicit monitoring and evaluation functions for the CPFs. From 1995 to 1997, an emphasis on building relationships between the police and the community, characterised by a focus on liaison and communication functions for the CPFs. In 1997, a clearer shift in the publication of the Departmental policy on community policing, which, building on key elements of the NCPS, emphasised the establishment of problem solving partnerships to help improve police services and assist in reducing crime. In 1998, the White Paper on Safety and Security directed the CPFs towards community mobilisation against crime and other social crime prevention functions. The shifts in policy affecting South Africa's community policing policy are presented in Table 6. Table 6(a): The development of community policing policy, 1993 - 1999
1993
1994
1995
1995
Interim Constitution (Act 200 of 1993)
Minister's Draft Policy SAPS Act (No. Document: 68 of 1995) Change
National Crime Prevention Strategy
Structured democratic oversight of the police
Cultural change: a new (civil) professionalism for the SAPS
Structured liaison and consultation between SAPS and those they serve
Crime as a multifaceted social issue rather than a onedimensional security issue
Intention: address political legitimacy of police
Intention: address acceptance of policing in a democracy
Intention:
Intention: enhance police and community liaison to improve legitimacy of police
focus and integrate government and civil society initiatives to address priority
crimes
Provides for CPFs and Boards with oversight functions:
Advocates: ldemocratic
Establishes CPFs with Provides for a co-
primarily liaison and
ordinated and
communication integrated approach
functions.
to priority crimes.
accountability, monitoring, and evaluation
accountability, demilitarisation, decentralisation, and community consultation
"Philosophy of community policing must inform and pervade the entire organisation"
Such liaison to be about: partnership,
Acknowledges that the state cannot deal with crime on its own. Advocates:!
co-operation, police services, problem solving, transparency, & accountability
maximising civil participation in crime prevention initiatives, and! improving community responsibility for the prevention of crime
Includes provision for CPF oversight functions provided for in the 1993 Constitution
Table 6(b): The development of community policing policy, 1993 - 1999
1997
1998
1999
Community policing policy framework and guidelines
White Paper on Safety and Security
Focus on operations in priority areas
Collaborative problem solving
Participatory and complementary local crime reduction
Operation Crackdown
Intention:
Intention: establish broad partnership with the community to improve police services and reduce crime
Intention: establish multi-agency approach to crime reduction at local level
address crime, enhance police services and public perceptions in priority
areas
Details community
Provides for a Unclear impact
policing as a
supplementary role on objectives of
methodology for: improving local police services, participatory problem solving, and! crime reduction
for local government on core CPF functions: Directs CPFs to cooperative relationship with local government in crime social prevention
community policing
Details method for establishing CPFs and main functions and activities
Shifts CPF community role to community mobilisation
Batho Pele________________________________SDIP Public Service Regulations access and consultation client-focused public service service improvements standards
As indicated in Table 6, it is not clear what the implementation, since mid-2000, of the SAPS' three-year strategy, will have on the CPFs. This strategy aims broadly at reducing or stabilising crime in the prioritised areas to the extent that station level policing can be 'normalised' and effective. It also aims to improve public confidence in the police and public perceptions of safety. However, it omits detail on the role, if any, envisaged for the CPFs. Given the content of the recently published Interim Regulations for CPFs and their boards, it does not appear that a significant role has been envisaged for these structures.12 The interim regulations were published in May 2001, that is, three months after the Minister for Safety and Security, Steve Tshwete, said, in his press statement on the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cabinet Cluster's crimecombating priorities for 2001, that: "... as part of our overall drive to bring communities on board, a single structure between communities and the relevant Cluster Departments will be established to ensure an integrated approach to community involvement in the Integrated Justice System. This will mean an integration of Community Police Fora and liaison structures of other Departments." 13 Although they have the authority of law, the interim regulations do not engage either with explicit direction provided by the minister or with the direction provided for the CPFs in the White Paper. Rather, the regulations direct the CPFs to fulfil the ambiguous and contradictory objectives laid down for them in the Act, and focus mainly on the procedural establishment of the CPFs and their Boards--that is, on issues covered in depth in policy five years before. However, more significantly, the interim regulations either directly avoid or downgrade the issue of state support for the CPFs. They even specifically outlaw some current practices of the CPFs that facilitate support for their activities. At issue here is the contested status of the CPFs. The crux of the matter is whether or not they may be considered formal 'organs of the state', and therefore whether or not the state has an obligation to sustain and support them. In fact, there is no doubt of this: the CPFs were created by legislation and exercise public functions in terms of that legislation. Therefore, South Africa's Constitution (Section 239) obliges the state to ensure that these structures are able to meet their intended purposes.14
This obligation has not been acknowledged in any practical or systematic manner. Thus, while the objectives of the policy guiding the implementation of community policing in South Africa have changed, government ambivalence towards providing meaningful support to the structures created by this policy has remained consistent. Given such government aversion towards providing meaningful support to the CPFs, how likely is it that these structures will be able to reach into and garner support from South Africa's diverse and fragmented communities? To put the question differently, in the absence of clear direction and systematic support, how plausible is it that these structures will be able to help make public safety and policing everybody's business? CHAPTER 4 Implementation of the community policing policy For SAPS provincial, area and station managers, as well as many CPF practitioners, the key guide for the implementation of community policing is the Department of Safety and Security's Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines, published in 1997. This chapter details how the community policing policy has been understood and implemented. Understanding of the community policing policy The Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines were incorporated into the police training curriculum and became the subject of police and CPF workshops across much of the country. The document has, therefore, been accessed by the majority of its target audience, including: all provincial respondents; 82% of SAPS area level management; 92% of CPF respondents at the area; 64% of SAPS station management; and 63% of station level CPF. However, it appears from these responses that although access to the policy document has been generally satisfactory, it is limited where it matters most--at station management level. Indeed, more than a third of SAPS station managers (36%) and 37% of the station CPF respondents interviewed in the research indicated that they did not know of the policy document. The majority (80% of SAPS station respondents and 81% of station CPF respondents) who had accessed the policy document viewed it as clear and practical. Further, at the area level, 90% of SAPS and 96% of CPF respondents indicated that they believed it to be clear on the goals of community policing, and that it provided an effective guide to implementation of the policy because it was clear and practical, particularly in relation to the role and functions of the CPF. Those least likely to view the policy document as an effective guide to implementation were the provincial SAPS respondents and their colleagues in the provincial secretariats.These respondents cited the lack of a coherent strategy and a dedicated budget for implementation, a lack of clarity regarding the roles and functions of the various role-players, and some dysfunctional CPFs as the primary reasons for their views. However, this critique reflects frustration at the manner in which the policy has been implemented rather than with the policy document itself. Respondents were asked what they understood by the term 'community policing'. Their responses are detailed in table 7. Table 7: The meaning of community policing15
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
Partnership between local police and the community
64%
Improvement in community liaison, input and communication
12%
Responsiveness and accountability from the local police
11%
The building of trust between the police and the community
10%
Other
4%
Providing resources to the SAPS
-
Crime prevention activities
-
57% 7% 27% 9% - -
40% 29%
24% 27%
3%
9%
5% 27%
2% 7% 7% 18%
As the establishment of police-community partnerships through the CPF structures is a key practical element of the policy and is prescribed by legislation, it is not surprising that this was the most common element identified by respondents. However, it is clear that enhancing police-community communication and providing input to the police is much more important to the CPF representatives than to the police, as is engagement in crime prevention activities. The policy goal of communicating community needs and improving police effectiveness was not raised directly by respondents at local or area level--although this may be implied in the responses emphasising greater liaison, communication and local police responsiveness and accountability. Clearly, though, the police and CPF practitioners have different interpretations of community policing. This difference was articulated when respondents were asked about the nature and purpose of partnerships. Their responses are detailed in the table below. Table 8: The purpose of partnership between the police and the community
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
To enable joint problem solving To improve policecommunity communication and interaction To improve trust between police and community To improve local policing To establish an equal working relationship Other
71% 19% 4% 3% 2%
81% 6% 2% 7% 4%
35% 29% 12% 34%
- 4% 50% -
- 17% 20% -
This table indicates clear differences in interpretation between the SAPS and CPF respondents regarding the purpose of establishing partnerships. For police respondents, partnerships are far more likely to focus on acquiring assistance to deal with particular issues, and particularly on acquiring additional resources for general policing purposes or, in some instances, crime prevention activities. Thus, for police respondents, partnerships are associated with activities intended to address particular problems --usually, but not always, resource-related problems. However, for CPF respondents, partnerships are most likely to be interpreted as a means to enable greater access to the police, acceptance of community representatives by the police and sound working relations with the police. The issue for the CPF respondents is therefore one of acceptance--partnership with the police is viewed primarily as a means of enhancing relationships between the police and those they serve. These responses are indicative of the extent to which the practical issues raised in the interaction between the police and CPF representatives have, over time, superseded the original policy goals. For example, the policy is explicit on the purpose of police-community partnerships via the CPF: "... a major objective of community policing is to establish an active partnership between the police and the community through which crime, service delivery and police-community relations can jointly be analysed and appropriate solutions designed and implemented." 16 and, later: "The establishment of Community Police Forums and Boards, which should be broadly representative of the community, is of crucial importance, ... The main objective of this partnership is to determine, through consultation, community needs and policing priorities, and to promote police accountability, transparency and effectiveness." 17 Only the CPF representatives at area level identified with the goal of greater police-community communication. Also, the issues of police service delivery and police accountability for meeting local policing priorities were not directly mentioned by the respondents--although they might be implicit in the few responses related to improving trust and local policing. This difference in interpretation was repeated at provincial level. The provincial SAPS respondents emphasised joint problem solving and improvements to policing as the purpose of establishing partnerships. For these respondents, joint problem solving was about ensuring the involvement of, and information sharing with, other agencies, so as to supplement police resources. However, provincial CPF and secretariat respondents were more likely to emphasise improving communication between the police and the community, community or CPF input, and establishing equal and participatory relationships. Implementation of the policy As already indicated, establishment of the CPFs was the one key practical step, outlined in the legislation and policy, which SAPS provincial commissioners were obliged to take to implement the community policing policy. Thus, as expected, most respondents at provincial, area and station levels, identified the launch or promotion of the CPFs and the area and provincial boards as the primary means through which the policy had been implemented. This translated, for 32% of SAPS and 50% of CPF respondents at station level, to a direct association between implementation of community policing policy, the establishment of the CPF and the appointment of a Community Police Officer. However, 28% of SAPS station respondents and 29% of station CPF respondents reported that joint crime prevention projects were the primary means through which community policing had been implemented. Further, 25% of SAPS station respondents and 19% of CPF station respondents identified joint awareness campaigns as the primary means through which community policing had been implemented. As shown in Table 9, these are activities associated with the functioning of the CPFs. This reinforces the view held by the key role-players that CPFs are viewed as the primary vehicle for establishing partnerships and, through this, implementing community policing.
The responses outlined in the table below, while indicating a wide range of perceptions of what the CPFs do, also indicate a clear disjuncture between what the station and area level SAPS and CPF respondents perceive the purpose of their partnerships to be (as shown in Table 7), and the actual activities of the CPFs. For instance, just 13% of SAPS station and area level respondents claimed that the CPFs engaged in problem solving-- despite the fact that 71% and 81% of these respondents respectively also indicated that such problem solving was the purpose of their partnerships (see Table 7). No CPF respondents said that they actually engaged with the SAPS to solve common problems--although this may be inferred from the few responses indicating that the CPF engaged in SAPS or CPF capacity building. Further, none of the respondents at local or area level mentioned that CPFs represent community interests or priorities to the SAPS. Nor did any of these respondents mention activities aimed at enhancing police responsiveness, service delivery or police accountability--all of which were key goals laid down in the policy for the CPFs. Table 9: CPF activities
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
Crime prevention projects SAPS/CPF capacity building Problem solving/planning Public awareness campaigns Resource procurement for SAPS or CPF Don't know what CPF activities are Nothing--the CPF has no activities Assistance to the SAPS with management issues Activities to sustain CPF
40% 13% 13% 11% 7% 6% 4% 3% -
36% 9% 13% 11% 11% 8% 6% 7%
45% 9% 17% 15% -
35% 13% 28% 8% -
-
-
7%
13%
The limited extent to which the CPF respondents engage with actual policy goals is also emphasised by the very limited role the CPFs play in determining police priorities. For instance, when asked who determines priority crimes and issues at station level, 80% of station SAPS respondents and 72% of station CPF respondents replied that these priorities were determined by the SAPS, primarily by means of crime statistics. Just 11% of SAPS station respondents and 23% of station CPF respondents said that local crime priorities were determined with the aid of input from the CPF. Indeed, 66% of station SAPS and 67% of area SAPS respondents agreed that CPF activities are mainly driven and co-ordinated by the SAPS, particularly by the community police officer and sometimes directly by the station or area commissioners. Thus, when asked to whom the CPFs report and account for their activities, 58% of station SAPS respondents replied that these structures answer to SAPS command structures. Just 17% of SAPS station respondents believed the CPF accounted for its activities to the community. However, station level CPF respondents were divided on the issue--48% believed that they accounted to SAPS command structures, and 37% indicated that the CPFs reported to the community. The divorce between CPF activities and accountability to the community was more evident at the area level. Here, 69% of area CPF respondents replied that the CPFs answer either to SAPS command structures or to CPF boards (which would include SAPS commissioners). Just 18% of area CPF respondents said the CPFs accounted to their communities.
The ability of the CPF to actually engage with, and involve, those they are meant to represent was made even more questionable when the respondents were asked what the CPFs account for. Respondents were divided on this issue. Sixtytwo percent of the station SAPS respondents indicated that the CPF reported on and accounted for internal CPF issues and meetings, especially problem solving and the use of resources and finance. This was supported by 72% of the area CPF respondents. Only 23% of the station level police officers, and 9% of the area CPF representatives replied that the CPF at station level account for local level projects. However, this was not supported by station CPF respondents--50% of whom answered that the CPF account for project activities. A further 38% said that the CPF reported and accounted for internal CPF issues. This may mean that the accounting for projects is done at a very local community level, without the involvement of the station police or the area CPF board. However, given the data above, it is more likely to mean that there is very little accountability to the community regarding CPF activities. The original goals of the community policing policy related to the CPFs were to provide community input on local priorities and needs, and monitoring and evaluation of the police to ensure local needs are met. Nevertheless, the data above indicates the extent to which these objectives are no longer prioritised by practitioners at the area and local levels. Rather, this role appears to have been overtaken by a shift towards conceptualising local level crime prevention as the key role for the CPFs. This correlates directly with the policy shift advocated in the 1998 White Paper on Safety and Security. For example, the White Paper states that: "CPFs ... have a key role to play in, among other areas, the determination of and participation in crime prevention programmes".18 Participation in the CPFs When asked who participated in CPF activities, SAPS and CPF respondents indicated that government departments, local government, NGOs and business organisations had been accessed for support and participation. From the responses provided, it was clear that community structures, local youth and women's groups, religious groups, and other interest groups like farmer and taxi associations were rarely involved. The point here is that the respondents identified government and the stronger, more organised sections of civil society as participants in their activities--NGO's and business organisations--not community structures or local interest groups. Summary Implementation of the community policing policy has focused almost wholly on the establishment and activities of the CPFs. The practical issues raised in the interaction between the police and CPF representatives have, over time, superceded the original policy goals for the CPFs. Thus, the representation of community priorities and needs, enhancing police responsiveness to these priorities through monitoring and evaluation, and helping to improve police service delivery are not prioritised by practitioners at the area and local levels. Indeed, local level practitioners were clear that community structures, like local youth groups, women's groups, religious groups, and other interest groups like farmer and taxi associations were rarely involved. Rather, the CPFs appear to target government and the stronger, more organised sections of civil society in their activities. Further, there is a clear difference in understanding between the SAPS and CPF practitioners regarding the purpose of their partnership. For police respondents, this relationship is associated with activities intended to address particular problems, often related to resource constraints. For CPF practitioners, the issue of partnership is related to acceptance, that is, partnerships are viewed as a means of building relationships between the police and the community. Despite different understandings of the purpose of the partnership between the police and the CPFs, there appears to be a real shift in the thinking of the primary practitioners towards understanding local level crime prevention as the key role for the CPFs. This correlates with the policy shift advocated in the 1998 White Paper on Safety and Security.
CHAPTER 5 Effectiveness of policy implementation: the practitioner's view The practitioner's view This chapter describes the views of the SAPS and CPF practitioners on the manner in which the policy has been implemented. Most respondents at the station and area level indicated that they did not believe enough had been done to ensure effective implementation of the community policing policy (Table 10). Table 10: Has enough been done to ensure effective implementation of the policy?
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
No Yes Don't know
54% 44% 3%
57% 42% 1%
68% 32% -
64% 36% -
The most common reasons cited by respondents for the generally negative view were: a lack of personnel and physical resources; a lack of support from supervisory structures; the view in the SAPS that community policing is the function only of the Community Police Officer; and a lack of general community participation. These views were largely endorsed by the provincial respondents. Of these the SAPS respondents also mentioned the lack of capacity of the relatively junior community police officers (who are often seen as responsible for implementing community policing) and the lack of participation from the detective service. Provincial secretariat respondents pointed to the lack of support from senior SAPS management and the politicisation of community policing as further inhibiting factors. The management issues alluded to by the respondents as reasons for their belief that not enough had been done to implement the policy was reinforced by a generally negative view of the ability of the SAPS to facilitate local police responsiveness. Table 11: Does the structure of the SAPS assist local police responsiveness?
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
No Yes Don't know
67% 26% 6%
52% 43% 5%
71% 29% -
56% 44% -
The table above indicates that those at station level are most likely to view the structure of the SAPS as a factor inhibiting effective implementation of the policy. The most common reasons for the critical view of the SAPS structure at station and area levels were that: police resources were dispersed through too many layers, resulting in stations being under-resourced; the hierarchical system resulted in too much red tape; and there was too little decentralisation of decision-making authority. These views were largely endorsed by the provincial respondents, who also cited duplication of functions, too many lines of communication and not enough decision-making authority at station level as inhibiting factors related to the structure of the SAPS. Further, systematic and meaningful support from the senior structures of the SAPS and the CPF boards for the implementation of the community policing policy appears to have been very limited. All the respondents agreed that support from supervisory structures has mainly taken the form of advice, guidance and in some instances, limited financial assistance. The majority of respondents at the station and area level believed that such support had been inadequate. Clearly, the CPF respondents were most dissatisfied because of lack of support from their area and provincial boards respectively. Interviews with provincial respondents showed that most also believed that the support that was provided-- advice, guidance and limited problem solving--was inadequate. Table 12: Is the support provided from the supervisory level above you sufficient?
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
No Yes Don't know
55% 32% 13%
54% 46% -
63% 37% -
78% 22% -
The support most sought by the station and area respondents was related to the provision of resources, particularly financial and logistical, and greater communication, advice and involvement from representatives of supervisory structures. With the exception of area SAPS respondents, the majority of respondents indicated that they thought the MEC and the provincial secretariats were ineffective in supporting implementation of the policy. The area SAPS respondents indicated that the MEC and secretariats played a valuable monitoring and advisory role, and had actively promoted the implementation of the policy by providing resources and training and through participation in public CPF activities. However, this was not confirmed by the majority of area CPF respondents, who--while indicating that the MEC and secretariats attended public activities and had provided resources and training--were divided in their opinion as to whether this had been effective (50% no, 46% yes).
The view of the area SAPS respondents was not supported by station level CPF respondents, the majority of whom indicated that the MEC or representatives of the secretariat engaged actively in public CPF activities like meetings. However, almost two-thirds, 62%, thought this was ineffective and insufficient. Most telling perhaps, was that the police at station level were as likely to say they knew what role the MEC and secretariat fulfilled as they were to say that the MEC and secretariat played no role at all. The local SAPS respondents were more divided in their opinions on the effectiveness of the MEC and secretariats for supporting implementation of community policing. For example, 42% perceived the MEC and secretariats to be ineffective, 27% did not know and just under a third, 31%, indicated their view that the advisory, monitoring and capacity building role of the MEC and secretariats was effective. Most critical of all were the secretariat respondents themselves. Six of the nine said that they perceived their role and that of the MEC in supporting the implementation of community policing to be ineffective. The most common reason provided for this was the current lack of resources and capacity, particularly personnel, available for assistance in problem solving at station level. However, two of these respondents indicated that the lack of a clear mandate and direction for the MEC regarding the CPFs was the major inhibiting factor. However, of most concern to all the respondents was the lack of a dedicated budget. Indeed, most respondents at the station and area level cited this as one of the major factors inhibiting effective implementation. CPF respondents at station level were more likely to indicate that they had access to some, albeit limited, finance. Fiftytwo percent of these respondents said they had acquired such access. However, this could not be confirmed by the SAPS respondents at station level, just 11% of whom indicated that the CPFs had some access to finance. Forty-two percent of the local police respondents said that the CPFs functioned without finances, and 47% did not know. At area level, the majority of the respondents agreed that the CPFs functioned without a budget and had limited access to finance, if any at all. These findings suggest that where the CPFs do acquire access to finance, this is done at a very local level or through channels that the station police and area CPF boards do not participate in, or know about. At the time the research was conducted, there were no regulations to govern the resourcing and activities of the CPFs and their boards. This was also identified as an inhibiting factor by the majority of station and area respondents. Table 13: Should specific regulations be published for the CPFs?
Station Area Station Area SAPS SAPS CPF CPF
Yes No Don't know
73% 27% 1%
68% 32% -
60% 40% -
64% 36% -
This view was supported by the provincial SAPS respondents and, strongly, by the secretariat respondents. The notable exceptions were the provincial CPF respondents, most of whom were not in favour of regulations for the CPFs. However, there was a clear difference of opinion between the provincial respondents and the practitioners at station and area level on the focus areas for such regulations. The provincial SAPS respondents believed that the roles and functions of the CPFs required regulation and, after that, factors related to resourcing the CPFs and Financial Accounting should be considered for regulation. This view was largely supported by secretariat respondents. However, the need to regulate the role and functions of the CPFs did not appear to be an issue for the area and station
level respondents. Rather, the key concern was resourcing the CPFs, particularly the allocation of finances, use of state assets and financial reporting and accounting. Allied to the perceived need for regulations to govern the functioning of the CPFs, there was a strong demand from respondents at provincial, area and station level that the state should actively support the CPF structures--mostly through the provision of financial and other resources. As indicated in Chapter 3, these are precisely the issues that the interim regulations have not addressed. Summary Those associated with direct implementation of the community policing policy do not believe that enough has been done to implement the policy effectively. The main reasons for their views are a lack of dedicated resources, a lack of systematic support from their supervisory structures, and the view in the SAPS that community policing is the function of a particular post only, that of the Community Policing Officer. In addition, these practitioners also identified the hierarchical command structure of the SAPS as an inhibiting factor, indicating that this resulted in a dispersal of limited police resources, too much bureaucracy and too little decision-making at the local level. CHAPTER 6 Impact of the community policing policy: the SAPS' view Despite the reservations expressed by police respondents regarding effective implementation of the community policing policy, and the general dissatisfaction with the perceived lack of support for implementation, most of the SAPS respondents were clear that the policy had a positive effect on the manner in which they performed their functions. Seventy-two percent of station SAPS respondents and 80% of area SAPS respondents said that the implementation of community policing had improved: their approach to, and interaction with the community; the development of a sense of shared responsibility for issues of common concern; and the development of greater trust and mutual accountability between the police and community. However, 23% of SAPS station respondents and 20% of area SAPS respondents indicated that implementation of the policy had resulted only in more meetings, and had not affected the way they performed their functions. The main reason given by these respondents was that they had always sought positive interaction with those they served, and had always adopted a consultative approach. In answering a different question, though, 82% of station SAPS respondents and 77% of area SAPS respondents said they believed that implementation of the policy had resulted in improved services being delivered to the public at station level. The provincial SAPS respondents indicated that they too had derived benefit from the implementation of the policy, indicating that community policing had brought about a new, interactive, service-oriented approach to policing in which the police sought co-operation rather than confrontation. However, here too a minority of respondents indicated that they had experienced no real change, and that they were policing in much the same manner as they had always done. The provincial secretariat respondents were most positive about the impact the policy had had on the police. These respondents said that, despite weaknesses in the implementation of the policy, their experience had shown that implementation of the policy had contributed to making the police more accessible, more consultative and more serviceoriented than they had been in the past.
CHAPTER 7 Public perceptions of policing in the SAPS' priority Areas The study sought to gather information on general public perceptions of crime and policing in the priority areas to assist an analysis of public confidence in the police, expectations of the police and engagement with the police, the CPFs and issues of safety and security. The research tool used for this was the general community survey, conducted with 13 659 adult respondents, each residing within a 10km radius of the selected stations. The data gathered through this survey, which is presented below, provides a picture of public perceptions of safety and security and policing in the priority areas. Assessment of these perceptions needs to be approached with caution. This is because these are the perceptions of members of the public who may not have had any involvement in safety and security issues in their places of residence or, more importantly, may not have had direct contact with the police at all. Their perceptions would therefore be shaped by factors that have little or nothing to do with policing; factors such as the media, personal communications or general feelings of safety and fear of crime. Indeed, local and international studies have shown that race, neighbourhood context (such as the level of poverty and instability), and feelings of political alienation and disempowerment affect perceptions of the police. Nevertheless, such perceptions provide an important context as general perceptions about safety and police effectiveness can influence the extent to which people engage with the police and participate in initiatives aimed at reducing crime. These perceptions are outlined immediately below. In the chapters that follow, these views are combined with those of people who had had direct contact with the police. Public perceptions of crime in the priority areas More than one in three of the respondents to the community survey (5 098 respondents or 37% of the sample population) indicated that they, or a member of their household, had been a victim of crime in the 20 months from January 1999 to September 2000 (Table 14). Table 14: Victimisation in the priority areas
Type of crime Home burglary Robbery Assault Vehicle theft sexual assault Other theft Hijacking Murder Stock theft Child abuse Total
n%
1 974 27.1
1 415 19.5
1 282 17.6
754
10.4
438
6
398
5.5
377
5.2
288
4
225
3
120
1.7
7 271 100
The discrepancy between the number of respondents indicating they had been a victim of crime, and the number of crimes they said they had been a victim of, suggests that some of the respondents had been a victim of more than one crime.
Given this relatively high rate of victimisation, and the violent nature of many of the crimes, it is no surprise that most of the respondents believed, probably correctly, that crime in their areas of residence had become worse, or that changes in policing policy had had little significant impact over the past four years. This is indicated in Figure 1. Figure 1: Public perceptions of crime in areas of residence: 1996 - 2000 (n=13 659) Figure 2: Public perceptions of policing (n=13 359) The common public perception that crime in their areas of residence had increased, or that there had been little significant change in the crime rate would, in all likelihood, affect the perceptions of members of the public regarding the quality of policing in their areas of residence, as well as their confidence in the police service overall. Public perceptions of policing in the priority areas Forty-six percent of the respondents indicated that they believed the quality of policing in their areas of residence had not changed over the past four years, 30% believed it had become worse and 22%, or roughly one in every five respondents,
believed policing had improved. The most common reasons provided by those respondents who believed policing in their areas of residence had become worse were: the police were corrupt (29%); the police lacked motivation (18%); crime had increased (15%); there was a poor response to call-outs (9%); the police provided a generally inadequate service (8%); the police had insufficient resources (4%); and there was a lack of police visibility (2%). Those who believed the quality of policing had improved cited, as the most common reasons for this belief, that: the police had become more helpful, committed and serious (33%); crime had decreased (32%); the police had become more visible and available (17%); the police were arresting the criminals and solving crime (12%); and communication between the police and community had improved (7%). The relatively high levels of victimisation and generally negative perceptions of policing translated, for the respondents, into a general scepticism regarding the police in the priority areas. This is indicated in Figure 3. Figure 3: Public confidence in the police (n=13 624) Figure 3 indicates that 7 367 respondents (54% of the sample), said they had confidence in the police in their area of residence. In contrast, 6 120 (45%) said they lacked confidence in the police and 137 (1%) were non-committal. Where confidence was expressed in the police, the main reasons given were: the police were helpful, committed and provided a good service (31%); the police did their jobs well and upheld the law (24%); there was a quick response to call-outs (12%); the police worked hard to protect the community (11%); the police were arresting the criminals and solving crime (8%); and police visibility and availability had improved (4%).
The most common reasons provided by respondents who said they lacked confidence in the police were that they believed: the police were unhelpful, unmotivated and did not provide a good service (28%); the police were corrupt (23%); the police were slow to respond (23%); and there was a lack of follow-up and investigation (6%). However, this public scepticism does not appear to have resulted in a disengagement from the police. On the contrary, there appears to be a ready and positive willingness to report crime to the police. As many as 10 448 respondents (77% of the sample) said that if they knew about a crime committed against them, members of their household or others, they would report it to the police. In contrast, 3 046 respondents (22%) said they would not report crime to the police and 91 (1%) said they were not sure whether they would report a crime or not. The primary reasons motivating the willingness to report crimes were that: this would help reduce crime (65%); offenders must be apprehended and punished (13%); it is a citizen's duty (12%); and people should not take the law into their own hands (9%). The 22% of respondents who indicated they would not report crime to the police said they were motivated by the belief that: the police are ineffective, it would be pointless (47%); they feared reprisals (26%); they should not get involved (13%); and the police are corrupt (7%). Finally, respondents were asked to list one or two things the police should do to improve the public's confidence in them. Their responses are outlined in the table below. Table 15: The public view of what the police should do to improve public confidence
n
%
End corruption, police should be more honest, loyal and trustworthy
4 539
23.3
Arrest offenders, solve cases
3 269
16.9
Improve visibility and patrols
2 535
13
Improve response times
2 149
11.1
Improve resources available to the police
1 773
9.1
Work with the community
1 720
8.8
Should be better trained to improve services
937
4.8
Nothing / don't know
782
4.1
Should show equal respect to all they serve
656
3.3
Treat all cases with the same respect
541
2.8
Improve the functions of the justice system and quality of prisons
281
1.4
Assist with crime awareness campaigns
118
0.6
Maintain confidentiality of victims
50
0.3
Promote / work with CPF
63
0.3
Other
32
0.2
Total
19 445 100
This table is significant in that it confirms a widespread public scepticism regarding the integrity of the police. It also indicates that for the general public residing in the priority areas, improvements to the core service functions of the police are likely to have the most positive impact on public perceptions and confidence. Further, these responses do not indicate a meaningful association between public input and improvements to police service delivery. That is, there does not appear to be much public enthusiasm for general interaction or engagement with the police. Rather, the table suggests that underpinning public perceptions of the police are the issues of integrity and accessibility. It therefore suggests that what the general public require is the assurance that, when they actually need the services of the police, such services will be provided in a professional and effective manner. Summary The police in the priority areas serve a generally sceptical public, many of whom have been victims of crime. Members of the public believe either that crime in their areas of residence has increased over the past four years, or that the policing initiatives have had little significant impact. Members of the public also believe that the quality of policing in these areas has not changed significantly or that it has become worse, and therefore they remain ambivalent regarding their confidence in the police. Despite these perceptions, there does not appear to be real disengagement of the public from the police, as there is clearly a willingness to report crime. Of concern though, are public perceptions regarding the integrity of the police, especially police corruption. The severity of the issue is indicated by the finding that most people who believed that the quality of policing in their areas had deteriorated and who lacked confidence in the police, cited, as reasons for this belief, police corruption and lack of motivation. The most common response to the question of what the police should do to improve public confidence in them, was that police corruption should be stopped. There does not appear to be public enthusiasm for general interaction or engagement with the police. Rather, for the general public living in the priority areas, improvements to the core service functions of the police are likely to have the most positive impact on public perceptions and confidence. CHAPTER 8 The public reach of the community police forums Representivity of the CPFs The Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines is clear that the CPFs "should be broadly representative of the community".19 For the purposes of this research, the word representative was understood to mean that the CPFs are intended to "consist of people chosen to act or speak on behalf a wider group"20 --the community in which they function. For the station level SAPS and CPF respondents, it is very important that the CPFs are 'representative' of the broader community in the police station area. Eighty-eight percent of each of these respondents stated that the CPFs should represent the broader community. Just nine and three percent of these respondents respectively indicated that the CPFs should instead represent specific interest groups who could directly assist with policing issues.
However, the SAPS respondents were far less assertive when asked whether they believed the CPF at their station was actually representative of the community it served. Fifty-four percent indicated that they believed it was, 43% said it was not representative and 3% could not say. The primary reason provided by the SAPS respondents who did not believe that the CPF represented the community was that some key local role-players, with whom they interact in other forums, were not represented at CPFs. This they attributed to the lack of feedback provided by the CPF to the community and, in some instances, the politicisation of the CPF, which were barriers to broad, inclusive participation. However, the local CPF respondents were much more positive--70% indicated that they believed their CPF represented their community, 25% said it was not representative and 6% could not say. The extent to which the CPFs may be considered representative structures is examined below. Using the definition above, four criteria were defined to measure the extent to which the CPFs actually do represent the wider group of people living in their areas: public awareness of the structures; public knowledge of the functions of the structures; knowledge of the existence of a CPF in one's residential area; and participation in the meetings or activities of the CPF. Public awareness of the CPFS As indicated in the figures below, general public awareness of the CPFs is very limited. For this section and those that follow, the responses acquired from the general community survey were analysed together with those acquired from the exit poll and the follow-up survey. This was done to assess whether direct interaction with the police had any impact on general public knowledge of the CPFs. Figure 4: Public awareness of the CPFs (n=13 624) Less than half of all respondents to the community surveys (44%) indicated that they had heard of a CPF. The consistency of the numbers reinforces this point--as indicated in Figure 5 below: 44% of respondents to the community survey, 42% of respondents to the exit poll and 47% of the respondents to the follow-up survey indicated that they had heard of a CPF. This indicates that public awareness of these structures does not increase as direct interaction with the police increases. Figure 5: Public awareness of the CPFs
Across all three surveys, African respondents were most likely to be aware of the CPF (46% of those who indicated that they had heard of the CPF), with white respondents least likely (36%). Public knowledge of the functions of the CPFs Approximately two-thirds of those who said they had heard of the CPFs indicated that they knew what the functions of these structures were. As indicated in the table below, those who knew of the CPFs also had a reasonably well-developed general understanding of what the functions of these structures are. Table 16 indicates that working with the police to help protect the community is the most common public perception of the role of the CPFs amongst those who have heard of these structures. Another commonly held perception concerns the representation function of the CPFs, that is, the role of representing and communicating community needs to the police. By contrast, the function of monitoring police performance is one not widely recognised by the public. Table 16: Public knowledge of the functions of the CPF
Community Exit Follow survey poll up
n = 6 008
n= 942
n = 637
Assist police-community communication/ensure police know community needs
34%
36% 33%
Protect community/arrest criminals
34%
31% 30%
Help SAPS deal with crime
26%
27% 31%
Monitor police performance
4%
3%
3%
Help to contribute resources to the police
2%
2%
3%
(The data here represents the responses of the 44% of the respondents who indicated that they had heard of the CPFs)
What is perhaps most important about the table, however, is that it highlights a clear disjuncture between what representatives of the CPFs indicated were their primary activities--crime prevention projects, awareness campaigns and assisting to resource the SAPS and CPF (see Table 9)--and what those members of the public who are aware of CPFs perceive as their activities. For example, as indicated in Table 9, no representatives of the station or area CPFs mentioned representing community needs to the police as one of their main activities.
Further, very few of the station or area CPF respondents indicated that they played a role in determining local priorities for the police. Yet, on average, one in every three people who knew of these structures and believed they knew what the CPFs' roles are, indicated that they represent community needs to the police. This is indicative of the limited reach of the CPFs into the communities in which they work and the consequent misconceptions of the general public as to the actual work of CPFs. This indicates the limited ability of the CPFs to make their actual activities and functions known. Knowledge of a local CPF Apart from general knowledge of the CPFs and their functions, the most important general indicator of the reach of the CPFs into their communities is whether or not people residing in a particular area know of a CPF functioning in that area. Just 35% of those who had indicated that they were aware of CPFs in general, knew of one functioning in their areas of residence. Again, the consistency of the numbers across the three surveys reinforces this point. Figure 6: Public awareness of a CPF functioning in area of residence Figure 6 indicates that: 35% of the 6 008 respondents to the general community survey who indicated they were aware of the CPFs, said they knew of one functioning in their area of residence; 39% of the 667 respondents of the exit poll who had accessed the police station in their residential area confirmed that they knew of a CPF functioning in the area; and 32% of the 449 respondents to the follow-up survey who lived in the area where they had reported a crime to the police knew of a CPF in the area. The data therefore indicates that, on average, one in every three people who know about CPFs also know of one functioning in their area of residence. The figure also indicates that a person's awareness of a CPF functioning in his or her area of residence does not increase with greater contact with the police. Again, African respondents across all three surveys were more likely to say they knew of a CPF functioning in their area of residence, (36% of the African respondents) while white respondents were least likely to know (28%). However, in all cases, knowledge of a CPF functioning in their areas of residence did not correlate with respondents' knowledge of what the station and area SAPS and CPF respondents indicated were the key activities of the CPFs--crime prevention projects and awareness campaigns. As indicated in the figure below, less than 30% of the respondents who said they knew of a CPF functioning in their areas of residence indicated that they knew of crime prevention projects or public awareness campaigns involving the CPF.
Figure 7: Public knowledge of CPF projects in area of residence However, despite this clear lack of public knowledge of crime prevention projects and awareness campaigns, there appears to be strong popular support for participation in such projects and campaigns. As indicated in the figure below, when the survey respondents were asked whether they would be prepared to participate in community-based safety projects, their response was very positive. Figure 8: Public support for participation in community safety projects On average, 87% of the public respondents to all three surveys indicated that, if they were asked to, they would participate in community activities to make their areas safer. Thus, despite CPF representatives indicating that their major activities revolved around crime prevention projects and awareness campaigns, the CPFs appear to have been unable to tap the local potential to participate in such projects. Participation in CPF activities As suggested by the analysis above, knowledge of a CPF functioning in one's area of residence does not appear to mean either active or regular participation in the CPF. On average, less than half of the respondents across all three surveys who indicated that they knew of a CPF functioning in their area of residence indicated that they participated, even occasionally, in CPF meetings or other CPF activities. Figure 9: Public participation in CPF activities
Clearly then, the public reach of the CPFs is very limited. This is indicated in Figure 10. Figure 10: The public reach of the CPFs The general lack of public knowledge of the CPFs and the resultant lack of knowledge of, and participation in, the activities of the CPFs, may well be attributed to the fact that a core function of these structures--that of enhancing policecommunity communication and liaison--remains poorly developed. CPF communication with the public When asked how the CPFs communicate with those they are meant to represent, 63% of station SAPS and 61% of station CPF respondents indicated that this was done through formal public meetings. A further 28% of station level SAPS respondents and 29% of station level CPF respondents indicated that the CPF communicates with the public through other formal means--local media and CPF pamphlets and newsletters. Just 7% of station level SAPS and 10% of station level CPF respondents indicated that personal communication or word of mouth was their primary means of communicating with their communities. Yet, as indicated in Figure 11 below, such informal communication was identified as the primary source of information about the CPF and its activities by those respondents who indicated that they knew of a CPF in their area of residence. Figure 11: Primary source of information on CPF and its activities (n=2 493)
Just 24% of the respondents who indicated they knew of a CPF in their area of residence said they learned of CPF activities through formal CPF communication. Summary The policy on community policing is clear that the CPF structures are to be representative of the communities in which they function. Such representivity is very important to the police at station level and CPF practitioners at station level. However, when measured across four criteria, it is clear that these structures cannot be viewed as representative of the communities in which they function. Further, while general knowledge of the functions of the CPFs appears to be reasonably well-developed amongst those who know of these structures, there is a clear disjuncture between what CPF practitioners indicated were their primary activities--crime prevention projects, awareness campaigns and assisting to resource the SAPS and CPF--and what those who know of these structures perceive the activities of these structures to be. Given the limited public reach of the CPFs, it is clear that in their present form and functioning and without meaningful government support, these structures are poorly placed to engage meaningfully in any of the roles outlined for them. Therefore, implementation of the community policing policy through the establishment of the CPFs has not been effective in relation to the core goals of the policy--ensuring wide-ranging input on community needs and priorities, improving police responsiveness to community needs and developing a joint responsibility and a wider capacity for addressing crime. The analysis above indicates that in the SAPS' priority areas, public safety and policing is a long way from being seen as everybody's business. Rather, in the sceptical perceptions of the public, these remain very much police business. However, could it be that despite the clear lack of public engagement, the policy has had most impact on the police themselves, in the manner in which they approach and interact with those they are meant to serve? As mentioned in Chapter 6, this was identified as the key impact of the policy by the majority of SAPS respondents at station and area level. Indeed, even those who said that implementation of the policy had not affected the way they performed their functions said that this was mainly because they had always sought positive interaction with the public. Also, as already mentioned, the majority of police respondents indicated that they believed that implementation of the policy had resulted in improved services being delivered to the public at station level. The overwhelmingly positive response of the public in the SAPS' priority areas who had actually received police services lends some support to this interpretation.
CHAPTER 9 Police service in the priority areas This chapter details the expectations and experience of respondents residing in the 45 police priority areas who had sought and received police services. The research tools used to gather this data were the exit poll, which canvassed the views of 2 286 people who had just visited a police station, and the follow-up survey, which sought the opinions of 1 361 members of the public who had reported a crime in the previous three months. In considering the data presented below, it is important to note the following: The views of the public may be influenced by the sample selection. The stations where the surveys were conducted are all priority stations included in the SAPS' 'Crackdown' strategy. They are high-crime stations, which implies that they may have benefited from more intensive attention from top police management than have other stations. The results of this study could therefore provide a more positive picture of policing than holds true for other parts of the country. Conversely, high-crime stations face more pressure in delivering service to the public than do lowcrime stations, because of the number of cases they process. This could result in poorer levels of service and thus negative public perceptions of the police. The follow-up survey sample is skewed in favour of those complainants who could be traced using the information on their case dockets. Fieldworkers rejected many dockets during the random selection process, because the information contained was insufficient to trace the complainant, either by phone or in person. Detectives would have had equal difficulty in tracing these complainants. Thus the views of those who probably received the least effective service, both in the charge office and from detectives, would not be reflected here. Public expectations of the police Most of the people who were questioned during the exit poll had visited the station to report a crime. One quarter had sought administrative services from the police (Figure 12). Figure 12: Reason for visiting the police station, exit poll In the follow-up survey, only people who had reported a crime were interviewed. Of these, most had reported property crimes (Figure 13). Figure 13: Nature of the dockets sampled in the follow-up survey
The property crime category consisted mostly of cases of 'other theft' and housebreaking. The vast majority of cases in the violent crime category were assaults. Respondents in both the exit poll and the follow-up survey were asked what they expected when they contacted the police. Most of those in the exit poll said that they expected to be treated with respect, and to receive good service. A few expected the service to be prompt or that the police would solve the case or arrest the offender. Very few people said they expected bad treatment, such as slow service and negative attitudes, from the police. In the follow-up survey, by contrast, a significant majority said they expected the police to solve the case and arrest the offender. The rest of the respondents expected good service, respect and promptness. Table 17: Public expectations when entering a police station or reporting a crime
Exit Followpoll up
Good service, respect
59%
Prompt service
15%
Solution of the case and arrest of the offender
13%
Information & advice on the case, follow-up 8%
The taking of a statement and supplying of a case number and insurance number
3%
"Slow service, referral, negative attitude " 1%
Do not know/no expectations
1%
Total
100%
20% 10% 65% 2% 0 2% 100%
The difference between the expectations in the two surveys shows both that expectations are influenced by actual experiences, and that expectations change over time. In the exit poll, most people had been to the police station to make the first report of a crime, which explains why their main expectation was to be treated decently and for the police to process their complaints. It would be unreasonable at this early stage to expect the police to arrest offenders or solve the case, which is probably why so few respondents mentioned these issues. The follow-up survey respondents were interviewed up to three months after reporting a crime. It is understandable that their main expectation at that time was for the police to solve the case. Most of the follow-up survey respondents had originally reported their case at the police station in much the same way as those in the exit poll had done. Their expectations at the time of initial reporting would have probably been similar to those of the respondents in the exit poll.
Therefore the police, as service providers, must be able to adapt the way they respond to the needs of the public, as these needs are likely to change once certain expectations have been met. Aside from the differences between the exit poll and the follow-up survey, the data shows that few people had negative expectations of the police. It also confirms that what people want is decent treatment and prompt and effective attention to the matter they have brought to the police. Impressions of the police station and initial services Respondents to the exit poll were asked what their impressions were of the police station upon entering. The results were extremely positive, and suggest that the police officers managing the stations included in the study have devoted considerable attention to the appearance of the charge office. More than 90% of respondents were positive about the condition of the station, saying it was clean, tidy and well maintained. The vast majority (92%) said they felt comfortable in the station, and 83% said they knew where to go to get the help they needed once inside the station. Prompt service is a key element of good service delivery. Respondents in both the exit poll and the follow-up survey were asked how long it took for their matter to be attended to in the police station or on the phone, depending on how they had contacted the police. All respondents to the exit poll had been to the police station, and the majority of those in the followup survey (74%) had reported the crime at the police station. In both cases, over 80% of people were attended to within 15 minutes of entering the police station. Equally important is how long it took for the matter to be dealt with--in other words, how long it took before the complainant could leave the station. In the exit poll, a majority (64%) said their matter had been handled within 15 minutes of their first being attended to. In the follow-up survey only 42% said the same. It is not surprising that it took longer for the matter to be settled than for the complainant to be attended to upon arrival, since settling a matter would in most cases involve completing the various forms required in a docket. (Of course, the survey data provides no information about the quality of the information on the docket. This is a separate but equally important issue which the study did not address.) Figue 14: Time taken before the phone was answered at the police station, follow-up survey Of the respondents in the follow-up survey who reported a crime to the police on the phone, 17% phoned their local police station and 7% phoned the 10111 emergency number. Half of the people who phoned the station said the phone was answered immediately and 21% said it had been answered in under three minutes (Figure 14). The time taken for the phone to be answered in the case of the remaining respondents appears to have been unacceptably long. Of the 119 people who phoned 10111, 36% said the call was answered immediately and a further 30% said it took up to three minutes. This means that more respondents who phoned the police station to report a crime said the call was answered immediately than did those who phoned the emergency 10111 service. Since the point of 10111 is to provide an emergency service, it is unfortunate that only one-third of calls appear to have been answered immediately.
Public experience in the police station Respondents in both surveys were asked a range of questions about the way they were treated by the police. As indicated in Table 18 below, the responses were overwhelmingly positive in both surveys. Table 18: Treatment of complainants in the police station
Exit Followpoll up
Did the police official identify himself /herself? Could you identify the official from his/her name tag? Was the official willing to help? Did the official treat you with respect? Did the official treat you with sympathy? Did the official know what to do about your issue? Did the official understand your concerns? Did the official understand your language ?
Yes 34% 78% 93% 91% 79% 91% 92% 96%
Yes 54% 80% 92% 92% 83% 90% 92% 97%
It is significant that over 95% of respondents in both surveys said the police understood their language. The area that most obviously requires improvement is the identification of police officials to the public. Few police members told the complainant their name, and around 20% could not be identified from their name tags or were not wearing them. Respondents were also asked whether they were able to discuss the matter they were reporting with enough privacy in the police station. A majority said they did have enough privacy: 57% in the exit poll and 61% in the follow-up survey. Male and female respondents were equally satisfied with the privacy in the station. The requirement for privacy would depend on the type of crime being reported. People reporting an offence like theft, for example, would not necessarily need privacy. The type of crime that was reported was recorded in the follow-up survey only (Figure 13). Since the majority of cases were property crimes, it is unsurprising that most victims were satisfied that they had enough privacy. The effectiveness of the service provided at the station Those respondents in the exit poll who had reported a crime, and all respondents in the follow-up survey, were asked a range of questions about how the police official handled their case when reporting, and what information was relayed to them about what to expect after making the initial report. Table 19 shows that the vast majority of complainants said that their statements were taken quickly and properly, and 70% (in the exit poll) said that they had been given a case number. Sixty-six percent of those interviewed in the exit poll were told what would happen with their case, and 58% (in the exit poll) were told who to contact about their case. Very few respondents were told about victim support services, or were given information about crime prevention or CPFs. Table 19: For those who reported a crime, did the police...
Exit Followpoll up
Yes
Take your statement quickly and properly ?
85%
Tell you that you could make a detailed statement later?
48%
Give you a case number?
70%
Tell you what would happen with your case ?
66%
Tell you who to contact about your case ?
58%
Tell you where you could get more support?
29%
Offer to take support?
you
to
where
you
could
get
15%
Give you information about how to prevent crime?
13%
Tell you about joining a CPF?
6%
Yes 89% 45% 79% 60% 56% 23% 13% 14% 7%
These results suggest that police officials in the community safety centre (or charge office) carry out their immediate duties well. However, they appear to neglect those aspects that are not of direct concern to them, such as the investigation process (which is probably viewed as the domain of the detective service of the SAPS). The same can be said regarding the small number of complainants who were told about victim support, crime prevention and the CPFs. Police in the community safety centres probably see these issues as the domain of other components within the police station, and therefore of little concern to them. The finding that less than 30% of respondents were referred to victim support services suggests that the SAPS' Victim Empowerment Initiative is not having the desired impact on the community safety centre--the main point of interface between complainants and the police. It suggests that the training of frontline police personnel needs to be improved to enable these officials to understand their central role in victim empowerment, witness management and facilitating subsequent investigation. This analysis is supported by further investigation of what information was given to complainants in the community safety centre about the procedures they should expect after making the first report of a crime. As indicated in Table 20, although most respondents were given a case number (which is a good start in enabling complainants to track their cases), only half or less than half were given any information regarding the investigation process. Table 20: Did the police tell those reporting a crime that...
Exit Followpoll up
Yes
They should have a case number?
79%
They could have a copy of their statement? 38%
They could correct their statement before signing?
48%
The detective might need a further statement?
54%
Yes 83% 34% 56% 53%
They could ask for contact details of the detective in their case?
52%
They could ask the detective about what washappening to their case?
53%
The detective would inform them of the progress on their case?
55%
They should tell the detective if they go away or change address?
37%
They should inform the detective if they fear
thatthe suspect may interfere with their
33%
case ?
48% 50% 56% 31% 27%
The consequences of failing to inform complainants about the procedures that follow the reporting of a crime, and what they can expect from the detection process, are potentially serious. This information is crucial to familiarise complainants with the criminal justice process, to help ensure that witnesses and complainants can be contacted and traced, and thus that the case stands a chance of being tried in court. It would also enable the victim to contact the detective if necessary, rather than leaving the responsibility for the first contact with (sometimes overburdened) detectives. The data outlined above shows that the follow-up process after the initial reporting of the crime is the most important service delivery issue for complainants. A complainant needs to know what is likely to happen to his or her case (even if this means telling the party that it will probably be closed for lack of evidence). The follow-up should begin in the charge office, with the provision of information to complainants. Public satisfaction with service at the police station The vast majority of respondents in the exit poll (77%) and the follow-up survey (74%) were satisfied with the service they received from the police when they reported the crime. When considering the expectations that people had of the police, particularly those surveyed in the exit poll (Table 17), these results indicate that the police in the community safety centres are doing well to meet the expectations of their 'clients', thus generating high levels of public satisfaction. In the exit poll, 86% of those who were satisfied said this was because the police were professional, helpful and supportive. In the follow-up survey, 58% said the same. The other important reason for satisfaction was that the service was prompt: 12% of the exit poll respondents and 37% of the follow-up survey respondents mentioned this. Among the reasons provided by the few who were not satisfied with the services they had received were that the police were rude and had negative attitudes towards them. The other key reasons were that the service was slow, there was no follow-up or investigation, and that the police were incompetent. The main reasons motivating the responses of all the respondents revolved more around the treatment of complainants than the actual effectiveness of the police in dealing with the cases. This emphasises the importance of the various programmes aimed at making the SAPS more supportive and appreciative of victims and witnesses. Extent of police follow-up with complainants after reporting a crime Respondents in the follow-up survey were asked a range of questions to assess the extent of contact with detectives after reporting a crime, and their level of satisfaction with the service provided by the detectives on their cases. Table 21: Extent of police follow-up with complainant before an arrest (follow-up survey)
Yes
After reporting, did you expect to be contacted by a detective ?" Have you had any contact with a detective since reporting the crime? If you have had contact, did the detective contact you first ? Do you know what has happened to your case? Do you know how to contact the detective?
87% 49% 78% 37% 62%
The majority of respondents expected to be contacted by a detective after reporting a crime. However, only half (49%) said that they had actually had any contact with the detective after reporting to the police station. Of these, most said the detective had contacted them first. Most of the respondents said they knew how to get hold of the detective concerned, even though less than half had actually had any contact. This suggests that complainants wait for detectives to contact them, and are unlikely to initiate further contact after reporting a crime. Given the fairly low level of communication between the complainant and the police, it is not surprising that only 37% knew what had happened to their cases. Most of those (84%) who were informed about the progress of their cases had received the information from a detective. Those respondents who knew what had happened in their cases were asked if they had been informed by a detective that an arrest had been made. Those who knew that an arrest had been made were then asked a range of questions aimed at ascertaining whether detectives keep complainants informed about court proceedings. Of the total 1 361 respondents who were interviewed in the follow-up survey, only 34% could answer this question. The rest did not know what had happened to their cases and most had not had any contact with detectives (Figure 15). Half of the 34% of respondents (53%) said they had been told by the detective that an arrest had been made. These complainants (who made up only 18% of the total sample of 1 361) were kept well informed by the detectives on their cases. Figure 15: The declining number of complainants who were kept informed about their case
As indicated in Table 22, the majority were aware of the court case / roll number, the outcome of the bail hearing, whether they had to appear in court and on what day, and when the court was likely to make a decision on the case. Table 22: Extent of police follow-up with complainant after an arrest (follow-up survey)
Yes
tIf you know what has happened to your case, did the detective tell you that an arrest was made?
53%
If an arrest was made, did the detective tell you...
The court case / roll number? The outcome of the bail hearing? Whether you had to go to court? The date of your court appearance/s? The date when the court would decide on the case? What the court's decision was?
80% 72% 88% 86% 72% 64%
These results indicate that after a crime is reported there is little follow-up by investigating officers until an arrest is made. After an arrest, however, the quality of the service provided by the detectives is perceived to be good. This suggests that there are two phases in the follow-up process: the pre- and post-arrest phases. The survey results indicate that police service is weaker in the pre-arrest phase. Officers both in the community service centre and the detective service are responsible for delivering this service to complainants. The superior service in the post-arrest follow-up stage is confirmed by the overall level of satisfaction expressed by respondents with the service rendered by the investigating officers. Of those respondents who knew what had happened to their cases, the vast majority (80%) were satisfied with the service from detectives. (It is however important to reiterate that only 34% of the total sample of 1 361 people interviewed in the follow-up survey knew what had happened to their case. The views on satisfaction with the detective service are therefore the opinions of only a small percentage of complainants). Most of those respondents who were satisfied with service from the detectives said the reason was that the police were helpful, supportive and honest (58%). Other significant reasons were that the detectives followed up the case (25%), and took action against the suspect (16%). The main reasons for not being satisfied were that there was no follow-up and investigation (69%), that service was slow and that the charge had not been taken seriously (20%). The findings on the service received in the police station and after a crime had been reported reflect the two important elements of police service identified by the public: being treated properly and having the charges brought dealt with. It is, however, worth noting that for complainants, 'dealing with the matter' in the case of detectives means providing follow-up information to complainants, rather than actually arresting perpetrators or securing convictions. Following up a case could obviously lead to an arrest and conviction, but complainants' expectations are currently more modest--they need to know what is happening with their case, if anything. This does not mean that detectives should shift their focus away from their core business of investigating crime and arresting perpetrators. Rather, it shows that there is more to satisfying complainants than making an arrest. It also indicates the importance of training police officials in victim and witness management skills. Efforts to improve the pre-arrest service to complainants who have reported a crime will need to focus on both the detectives and the charge office / uniform personnel. Detectives are no doubt overburdened by large case loads, which limit their ability to contact complainants after they have reported a crime. Nevertheless, some method must be found to deal with the expectation of complainants that they will be kept informed. Public perceptions of how service at the station can be improved Respondents in both the exit poll and follow-up survey were asked what the police should do to improve service at the station. Table 23: What should the police do to improve their service at the station?
Exit Followpoll up
Improve skills Provide more resources Give prompt response and service Solve cases, arrest criminals Treat people & cases equally Follow up on cases Improve their attitude towards the public Nothing, don't know Have greater visibility and more patrols Work with the community, raise awareness Total
31% 20% 19% 9% 6% 1% 5% 8% 1% 0% 100%
20% 16% 11% 16% 10% 13% 8% 5% 2% 1% 100%
Among respondents to the exit poll, the key issues for better service were improving skills, providing the police with more resources and providing a prompt service. The views of the follow-up survey respondents covered the same issues, but included solving cases, arresting criminals and providing follow-up to complainants about their cases. A comparison with the data in Table 17, on what people expected from the police when they made their first report of a crime, confirms that people's expectations and experiences of the police influenced their suggestions for improving service. It is however important that very few respondents said the police should improve their attitude to the public, be more helpful or supportive. Together with the other results in this chapter, it is evident that the police have done well to respond in a helpful, respectful and supportive way to those who visit the station and report crime. Importantly though, the positive responses received from those who accessed police services are hardly those one would expect from members of the public dealing with corrupt or unmotivated police officers. Indeed, even the 24% of respondents to both polls who were dissatisfied with the service they received from the police did not share the primary concerns raised in the general community public survey. Not one of these respondents identified corruption as the reason for their dissatisfaction. The results of the three surveys therefore indicate a very clear divide between public perceptions of the police and the experience of those who have had direct interaction with them. This is indicative of the extent to which perceptions of the police can be shaped by factors that have little or nothing to do with the police. Thus, factors like neighbourhood context (such as the level of poverty and insecurity), feelings of political disempowerment, access to the media, personal communications or general feelings of risk and fear of crime can affect perceptions of the police. Summary Two key elements of police service delivery emerge from the survey results: the need to treat people decently and to deal with their complaint professionally. These two service requirements are as important at the time that a crime is reported as they are after reporting. The results show that the police in the priority stations have done particularly well with regard to the former, but less so with the latter. However, there can be little doubt that the SAPS' attitude towards, and treatment of, their clients is positive. The vast majority of complainants indicated that the police respond in a helpful, respectful and supportive way to those who visit the station and report crime. Further, there is a widespread and obvious satisfaction with the initial service complainants received from the police when reporting a crime. This is not because public expectations of police service were low, but rather, because most respondents who had had contact with the police had relatively high expectations of the service they
would receive. However, the quality of service that the police provide--in other words their ability to deal with complaints effectively--appears to deteriorate from the time that a crime is reported to when an arrest is made. These results suggest that after a crime is reported there is little reporting back to complainants by police officers until an arrest is made. Once an arrest is made, however, the quality of the service provided by the detectives is perceived to be good. Importantly, in suggesting what they would like to see improved at the police stations, very few respondents indicated that the police should improve their attitude, or be more helpful and supportive towards their clients. This should be seen as an important achievement for the SAPS in the priority stations. CHAPTER 10 Conclusion The analysis above has indicated that the objectives of South Africa's community policing policy have changed over the past eight years, from an initial emphasis on oversight of the police through a focus on relationship-building and the creation of partnerships to help improve police services, towards a much greater concentration on community mobilisation for crime prevention. Further, the analysis indicates that implementation of this changing policy has focused almost entirely on the functions of the CPFs. However, it is clear from the very limited public reach of these structures that implementation of the community policing policy has not been effective in relation to its common core goals--ensuring wide-ranging input on community needs and priorities, improving police responsiveness to these needs, and developing a common public responsibility and capacity for addressing crime. This is mostly attributable to the continuing lack of meaningful and systematic support from the state, although this is required by legislation. Thus, in their current form and functioning, the CPFs are poorly placed to draw participation and support from community-based organisations or other local role-players, and to mobilise participatory community crime reduction initiatives. Public safety, security and policing in the SAPS priority areas therefore remain a long way away from being seen as a common responsibility, or everybody's business. They remain in the perception of the general public, still very much 'police business'. However, it appears from the views of the police and the public, that much of the basic business of the police has been improved. Methodologically it is difficult to attribute this improvement to the implementation of the community policing policy. This is because, firstly, implementation of the policy has been ineffective with regard to its primary focus, the functions of the CPFs; and, secondly, there is no data by which to compare current police services and public perceptions with those that existed prior to the implementation of the policy. What is more certain, however, is that together with South Africa's democratic constitution and a range of other measures associated with the country's democratisation--like the establishment of parliamentary, departmental and independent oversight structures--the policy has succeeded in opening a previously closed organisation to greater public scrutiny, study and interaction. It is this opening, as well as the political emphasis over the past three to four years on improving service delivery in all government departments, to which one may more plausibly attribute improvements to basic police services. NOTES
1. See, for example: A Crawford, Crime prevention and community safety: Politics, policies and practices, Longman, London, 1999; W Lyons, The politics of community policing, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Anne Arbor, 1999. 2. W Lyons, op cit, p 40. 3. E Van der Spuy, The Secret to Successful Policing? Crime and Conflict, No 3, Spring 1995, Indicator South Africa. 4. C Shearing, Participatory policing: modalities for lay participation, Imbizo, Research in Progress Series, No 2, December 1998, Community Peace Foundation, p 8. 5. national level police managers and CPF practitioners were, by mutual agreement, excluded from the research. This was motivated by the participation of these stakeholders at all stages of the research design and, secondly, by the implementation function of the provincial command structures of the police. Formal responsibility for the implementation of community policing is delegated, through Section 19(1) of the South African Police Service Act (Act 68 of 1995), to the provincial command structures of the South African Police Service. 6. For a more detailed discussion of the assumptions informing the development of this policy, see E Pelser, The Challenges of Community Policing in South Africa, ISS Occasional Paper No 40, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 1999. 7. Minister of Safety and Security, F S Mufamadi, media statement, Cape Town, 25 May 1994. 8. A Altbeker & J Rauch, Community Participation Workshop, Report for Business Against Crime (Gauteng), May 1998, p 2. 9. Ibid, p 2. 10. Department of Safety and Security, Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines, 1997, pp 2-3. 11. Department of Safety and Security, White Paper on Safety and Security: In Service of Safety, 1998. 12. Department of Safety and Security, South African Police Service Interim Regulations for Community Police Forums and Boards, No R384, 11 May 2001. Published in Government Gazette No. 22273. 13. Minister of Safety and Security, S Tshwete, media statement: Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, 12 February 2001. 14. Opinions of Professor Christo Botha, Associate Professor in Constitutional and Public international law, University of South Africa; and Azhar Cachalia, Partner of Cheadle, Thompson & Haysom Inc. Attorneys. Both
opinions motivate this position on the grounds that the state has an obligation in law to establish these structures to perform a public function for the state. More importantly, the state 'controls' these structures in that it has the right to prescribe what the functions of the CPFs are and how these are to be performed (see Esack and Another v the Commission on Gender Equality 2000 (7) BCLR 737 (W) p 744). 15. The questionnaires administered to provincial, area and station role-players were designed to allow respondents to answer questions in their own words. At the completion of the interviews the information provided by the respondents was used to develop categories for coding and analysing the responses. The tables or other graphics used in this report were generated using the responses provided. 16. Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines, op cit, p 1. 17. Ibid, p 2. 18. White Paper on Safety and Security: In Service of Safety, op cit, p 34. 19. Community Policing Policy Framework and Guidelines, op cit, p 2. 20. The New Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998

File: not-everybodys-business-community-policing-in-the-sapspriority.pdf
Title: Untitled Document
Author: mbadenhorst
Published: Mon Apr 4 10:40:20 2011
Pages: 48
File size: 0.35 Mb


, pages, 0 Mb

Some wars in science, 22 pages, 1.17 Mb

Music: an appreciation, 5 pages, 0.03 Mb

Dune series-Dune, 13 pages, 0.14 Mb
Copyright © 2018 doc.uments.com