The Independent Complaints Directorate is an independent body that monitors and investigates complaints against the South African Police Service. Riaz Salojee discusses the legal framework, activities, successes and challenges that have faced the directorate and explains how he sees the ICD supporting the development of an approach to policing which is both effective and which respects human rights.
While apartheid-era policing was characterised by routine abuses, the advent of democracy called for police to be impartial, fair and effective. An effective police service, the author argues, is one that is sensitive to human rights, accountable for its actions, well-resourced, highly skilled, service-oriented and au fait with the latest technology. Where invasive techniques are required, appropriate checks must be in place. However, policing is not just the responsibility of the state; every citizen has a role to play in addressing crime so that policing can move to a more comprehensive approach which addresses the root causes of crime.