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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76768 Find in a Library
Title: South Africa - The Politics of Police Control
Journal: Comparative Politics  Volume:12  Dated:(1980)  Pages:481-499
Author(s): P H Frankel
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The dynamics of South African police control under apartheid are examined.
Abstract: The pace of political change in the country is seen as largely determined by the effectiveness with which the white minority wields the various formal and informal means of domination. Since the police are responsible for enforcing the system's formal rules, they are a critical element in this power conglomerate. To better accomplish their task, the police have altered recruitment patterns to exploit the reservoir of black, Indian, and Colored manpower. In addition, the regular police maintain close ties with municipal and provincial traffic police, the black township police, a force of amateur radio operators, and the Reserve Police Force consisting of ex-policemen and young whites discharging their national military service in police ranks. Also aiding the police is a legal framework in which the boundaries of legitimate police action are unclear and through which the police receive numerous preemptive powers to stifle all types of dissent. Precipitous rises in the police budget since the early sixties have allowed the force to bring a wide variety of sophisticated technologies and specialized skills to their control role. However, the police still face a number of problems, such as internal conflict within the force and a wide variety of police tasks that spread thin the force's manpower resources. Added to these is a shortage of white police recruits. Furthermore, the police have proved to be poor political socializers in their role of representing the central government at the local level: police contacts with blacks often take on adversary features. To help solve this problem, the Government has accelerated the rate of black promotions to increase the responsibilities of black officers. It is expected that the population's belief in police power will prevent the growth of politically inspired activist movements for a long time to come. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Police agencies; Police community relations; Political influences; Race relations; Recruitment; South Africa
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