Professionalism and the South African Police Service: What is it and how can it help build safer communities?

"This paper does not seek to offer new empirical data informing the police professionalism debate. Instead, it explores the idea of a professional police agency while probing what the concept might mean in the South African context. Some of its focus is on how one form of police professionalism might help garner police legitimacy. It also suggests that another interpretation might promote police effectiveness with regard to crime reduction. The paper begins with an overview of international literature on the subject before considering how this relates to the SAPS. It explores how the language of ‘police professionalism’ is used in South Africa, both by civil society and by the SAPS. It references two advocacy strategies, one pertaining to a ‘professional use of force’ and another that seeks to ‘promote professional policing’ as a response to police corruption."