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The South African Police Service’s attempt to escape a culture of injustice whilst restoring a community contract of servant-hood and protection

van Zyl, Herman
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Paper presented at “New Frontiers in Restorative Justice: Advancing Theory and Practice”, Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University at Albany, New Zealand, 2-5 December.

Known as an instrument of oppression, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has shifted allegiance from “enemy” to protector, moving from a popularly-rejected authoritarian institution to a democratically-accepted service provider. The main challenge facing the SAPS remains in bridging the gap between intention and action.The critical catalyst in realising the challenge towards implementation is the “Batho Pele” (People First) principles. The SAPS Service Delivery Improvement Programme was implemented to uphold these principles within the philosophy of community policing. Community policing serves as a foundation for restorative justice. The SAPS has managed to develop a new relationship with citizens (their clients), involving them in efforts to improve their quality of life in their communities. The attempted cultural change of the SAPS involves a shift in focus from not only handling crime, but also addressing general community concerns. In their discovery of new frontiers and culture adaptation the SAPS needs to deal with the reality of traditional apathy and distrust. The question remains whether victims do want to participate in the criminal justice process and if so, how? While the community at large do want information, consultation, and consideration, their participation in decision-making remains dismantled.
This presentation will focus on the restorative transformation process the SAPS have embarked on by referring to specific examples. Evaluative measurement between restorative service delivery and the capacity to serve and protect will yield the current gap that needs to be bridged. Restorative service delivery entails an “inward stretch” and an “outward reach”. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,


AbstractAfricaCourtsPolicePost-Conflict ReconciliationPrisonsRestorative PracticesRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and StudentsVictim Support
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