The democratization of South Africa (SA) officially took shape in 1994. This was after the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. The elections were preceded by the acceptance of the Interim Constitution (Act 200 of 1993). The new dispensation was characterized by the adoption of Constitutional principles as national values of democracy. As a result of the adoption of a constitutional dispensation (namely both the Interim Constitution (Act 200 of 1993) and the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) the Constitution became the supreme law of SA above all other laws that were in place. This era also enabled the elevation of the powers and status of the courts, and the system of checks and balances was enshrined. This research was initiated by a lack of a standardized formula for calling the police to account for their actions and decisions. The current study sought to explore whether there are any national, regional, and global standards for calling the police to account. Furthermore, it sought to establish if there are any comparative studies that sought to assess police accountability efficacy within regional and global perspectives. In order to make these determinations within a qualitative approach, the study sought to determine the practice and a culture of accountable policing within the Gauteng police practices. This determination was done by determining the perspectives of the operational police officers (crime prevention) who are rendering the first priority core business of the police in SA, namely the prevention of crime. To achieve this goal, two questions needed to be answered, namely: What is the police definition of policing accountability?; How can policing accountability be enhanced and promoted within the daily practices of crime prevention police officers? To have these questions answered, the following objectives were formulated for the study: - To explore and describe the perception of crime prevention police officers in Gauteng Province with regard to “policing accountability”. - To identify and describe guidelines to support these police officers to enhance and promote policing accountability in their day-to-day police practices in the Province. To achieve these objectives, a mixed research design, consisting of a qualitative-, explorative-, descriptive-, and contextual research design, was utilized. The target population consisted of all crime prevention police officers who were at that time attached to the seven policing areas/precincts of the Gauteng police service. Twenty eight- (28) focus group interviews were scheduled for the study throughout Gauteng Province. The sampling technique that was used in the study was the non-probability purposive sampling technique. The interviewing process was conducted until saturation was reached. To ensure validity and reliability of the results of this study, Guba’s model (in Lincoln& Guba, 1985:295-300) of ensuring trustworthiness, was applied. Data was collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured phenomenological focus group interviews, as well as supportive field information (in the form of field notes and observation). A tape-recorder was used to capture data, which was then transcribed “verbatim” to facilitate the process of data categorization. Data was analyzed according to the descriptive approach of Tesch (1990:142-145). This method helped the researcher to reduce the data into themes, sub-themes, categories, and sub-categories. The findings of this study were then controlled using available literature. From the analysis of the findings, six themes were identified as obstacles hindering the practice and a culture of policing accountability. In order to deal with the obstacles within the police practices, six strategies were developed to enhance and promote the practice and a culture of policing accountability within the Gauteng police practices. From the findings of the study and themes that developed therein, a six-tier framework/model was developed for the study. Recommendations that emanated from the study are presented in the last chapter.
Dissertation (MA (Social Work and Criminology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.