This is to enable the public to report allegations of police brutality committed by SAPS members during the national lockdown.
THE SA Police Service has set up a national service complaints centre to enable the public to report allegations of police brutality committed by SAPS members during the national lockdown.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said complaints that can be lodged include torture, cruel, inhumane and or degrading treatment and punishment committed by law enforcement members, including poor service delivery regarding police response, investigations, police negligence and police misconduct.
“Members of the public who report a complaint will be required to provide detailed information such as full names and surname, identity number, residential business address, telephone and cellphone numbers and an e-mail address. A detailed description of what occurred during the incident must be supplied, including the province or area in which the complaint originated, date and time of the incident and details of the SAPS officials involved,” said Naidoo.
He added that the national state of disaster had created an unprecedented situation that required the co-operation of everyone to prevent, limit, contain, combat and manage the spread of Covid-19.
“Law enforcement agencies are expected to ensure that the disaster management regulations are adhered to by all inhabitants of the country.”
Naidoo indicated that any member of the public suspected to be in contravention of the disaster management regulations could be arrested or requested to accompany a law enforcement officer to a police station.
“If the offence is of a serious nature, the person may be detained and brought before a court no later than 48 hours after the arrest.
“The person may apply for bail at his or her appearance in court. The bail will be determined by the relevant police official or prosecutor.”
He explained that if a person was detained and released before the 48-hour detention period, no charges would apply.
Naidoo stated that if the offence was less serious, the community service centre commander or the senior member of the SAPS in charge could consider the release of a person, in consultation with the investigating officer.
He said that those who transgressed the regulations could be issued with a written warning or pay an admission of guilt fine.
“A person who pays an admission of guilt fine will be released and will not have to appear in court. However, by paying the admission of guilt fine, it is regarded as if the person has been convicted in court on the charge and the person will have a criminal record. A charge can be withdrawn through an arrangement with the public prosecutor.”
He warned that the guidelines regarding the enforcement of the state of disaster regulations permitted law enforcement officers to forcibly confine and arrest a person who refused to submit themselves to custody.
“If a suspect resists the arrest or attempts to flee, an enforcement officer may use force that is reasonably necessary and proportional to overcome such resistance or attempt. However, under no circumstances may a person be tortured, assaulted or mistreated in any manner by a law enforcement officer.”
Naidoo added that the police continued to monitor movement between provinces, borders and districts at roadblocks, routine patrols and vehicle checkpoints.
“It is expected of law enforcement officers to support the aim of the state of disaster by providing a service, render assistance, give advice, guide and lead the community, in order to ensure that lives are saved.
“Permits are checked and verified, movement of cargo is being monitored and fines are issued for non-compliance and offenders are arrested.
“High-visibility patrols will be conducted to ensure that the restriction of movement of persons and social distancing is achieved to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
He stated that complaints could be directed to the nearest police station, the National Service Complaints Centre on the toll free number 0800 333 177 or on the following e-mail addresses [email protected] or [email protected]