skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 184246 Find in a Library
Title: External Governmental Mechanisms of Police Accountability: Three Investigative Structures
Journal: Policing and Society  Volume:10  Issue:1  Dated:2000  Pages:47-78
Author(s): Thomas E. Perez
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 31
Type: Survey (Cross-Cultural)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This comparison of the Federal grand jury system of the United States to the Independent Complaints Directorate in South Africa and the national Human Rights Commission in India focuses on the strengths and weaknesses shared by government oversight structures designed to ensure an effective and accountable system of policing.
Abstract: The analysis also focuses on potential improvements and on whether lessons from one system are transferable to another. The external governmental mechanisms have four basic objectives: (1) enforcing laws that proscribe police misconduct, (2) promoting public confidence in the government, (3) deterring police misconduct, and (4) encouraging systemic reform. The analysis concludes that the Federal grand jury system in the United States exposes police officers to the prospect of criminal prosecution. However, virtually all police officers accept the system, because they know that it is a part of a process of checks and balances that embodies democratic policing, makes them better officers, and helps them gain the public’s respect. The systems in South Africa and India indicate that these countries recognize the need for outside supervision. Political dynamics in both countries have led to unfortunate and even dangerous limitations on their powers. Both these countries’ mechanisms have become adept at operating with one hand tied behind their back. It remains to be seen what they could accomplish with both hands free. Footnotes and 25 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Accountability; Complaints against police; Criminal responsibility; Grand juries; India; Investigative powers; Police misconduct; South Africa; United States of America; US/foreign comparisons
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.