POLICING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West,
© 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia


INSTITUTIONAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS POLICING IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICA

J. H. Prinsloo

The South African community is at present reflecting on its newly established democracy. The process of transition was, and to a certain extent still is, characterised by radical demographic, social and political changes, which not only influence and transform the societal processes, but incisively affect(ed) the policing function as well as the institutional (internal) role. Up to and even during the transitional phases the South African Police was perceived (by at least certain sectors of society) as a repressive and ideological state apparatus.

Aspects researched were the views of (a representative sample of) police officials on the necessity and justification for the existence of the police in society, the public attitude and its influence on role fulfilment, role expectations of the police, the honesty with which role performers execute their duties, tendencies to differentiated policing, personnel turnover and reasons therefor, the handling of grievances and membership of a labour union for the police.

It was against this background that a research project was conducted during 1992/1993, which earmarked the transitional phases of the democratisation process to determine the opinions and experiences of a random sample of members of the South African Police. The purpose of this particular research project was, among other things, to enable the South African Police to judge for themselves to what extent they are ready to meet contemporary expectations and to furnish the police with information that could contribute towards acceptable policing within the diverse South African context of first world expectations and third world contradictions as well as conflicting policing expectations.

It was established that the research group still favours a juridical foundation as justification for a "neutral" and "objective" "police service" (cum force which is legally inspired and focalise on authoritarian law enforcement) although the "legal model" has defeated its own objectives worldwide. Where the historically legalistic disposition remains dominant in the South African Police, it poses distinct problems regarding future expectations of and commitment to "community policing". Possibly as a result of the abovementioned, the research group displays an unacceptable "frigid" disposition with regard to the attitude of the public, although a need for acknowledgment and acceptance is also communicated simultaneously as an implicit condition for rendering a more efficient and/or dedicated service to the public. A definite selective disposition regarding public attitudes, demands and expectations was noticed. It is also evident that this frigid and selective disposition towards the public relates to a negative experience of the public's attitude. For lack of their perceived "rightful" recognition, policing takes place primarily from a power base and in a reactive and legalistic-inspired way. In reaction to the aforementioned experiences, and although it does not constitute the only mode of reaction, discriminatory policing is confirmed by the admission of the research group.

The research findings indicate that the degree of honesty with which the research group rate the average police officer in his/her role fulfilment is, to say the least, suspect. Departmental disciplinary trials are approached with a great deal of mistrust and a perception of iniquity exists, especially amongst the lower ranks. As much as 49 per cent of the entire research group indicated that they already seriously considerd terminating their career in the South African Police for a variety of reasons but mainly due to their frustrating internal occupational milieu.

Until the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) was established towards the end of 1993, membership of a labour union for the police was quite a controversial issue in South Africa. It was expected that a grievance procedure that was established in 1991 already was to dispose of all grievances. However, it was loaded with suspicion while the mere idea of a labour union for police officials was unheard of and even prohibited by law.

INTRODUCTION

The South African community is at present reflecting on its newly established democracy. This new order resulted from revolutionary social and political changes, which not only demanded similar radical changes in how the public policing function was executed, but influenced the institutional perceptions and attitudes of police officials as well. Up to the transitional phase the South African Police Force, as it was then called, functioned as a repressive and ideological state apparatus, maintaining a coercive structure of formal social control which was politically directed at the maintenance of "internal order" and supposedly conformed to the principles of jurisprudence.

Henceforth the name of the public police was changed to the South African Police Service while the institutional emphasis shifted to a new ethos of tolerance, community service and sensitivity to public expectations and rights.

It was against this background that the institutional climate and attitudes of the South African Police towards their perceived role and the way in which it finds expression, were researched during 1992 and 1993. This period was characteristic of the transitional period, leading up to the final democratisation of South Africa in 1994.

METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS

The South African Police as a research population was sampled by taking two separate, independent but representive random samples from two selected police regions in and surrounding Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and Pretoria. The intended rationale for this step was to obtain an average profile of the relevant aspects of and tendencies in the South African Police as an institution. It therefore served no purpose to section a single region which is subject to unique or extreme variables. On this count the two selected regions compared favourably with each other when compared with the other regions in respect of:

During selection attention was given to the variables of gender, population group, rank, geographical representation and functional division of labour, to ensure the randomness and representativeness of the sample as far as possible (Stoker 1989:95, 99-105, 133; Groenewald 1989:16).

The objective in selecting the sample was to include 10 per cent of the police officers in each region in the sample. After "spoiled" questionnaires and "refusals" had been withdrawn, a total of 899 respondents were included in the research project. Of these, 408 (45,38%) were from the Pretoria region and 491 (54,62%) from the Eastern Cape region. The research group (N=899) jointly represented about 1,3 per cent of the South African Police Service. Constables accounted for 38 per cent of the research group, sergeants for 40 per cent, middle ranks for 18 per cent and senior ranks for 4 per cent.

An aspect that should be borne in mind is that the South African Police represent a unique population because of the special nature of the police task. Apart from its representative nature, the opinions and attitudes of all the respondents - in other words, also minorities - must be regarded as being of special importance by reason of their affiliation with the South African Police and their particular involvement in and daily influence on policing in South Africa.

A structured questionnaire was used as a data gathering, measuring and analysing instrument in this study. The questionnaire was compiled from rank order questions according to a Likert scale, which made measurement on an ordinal level possible. The internal consistency of the questionnaire was measured at the score of 0,975 according to Cronbach's coefficient alpha (SAS Institute Inc. 1985).

The objective of this specific research was, among other things, to enable the South African Police to judge to what extent they are prepared to meet present as well as future (collective) expectations regarding:

The ultimate objective was to furnish the South African Police with information that can contribute to effective and acceptable policing within the diverse South African context. It is therefore not only desirable, but also essential that the progress made in this regard be evaluated by way of continued research. In this way an essential contribution can be made to institutional strategical managerial aspects of the South African Police.

THE MOST IMPORTANT JUSTIFICATION FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE POLICE IN THE SOCIETY

As a result of increasing pressure on conventional approaches in policing, a universal course adjustment took place which became more community orientated (Goldstein 1990:23). Various pressure groups in South Africa eventually seized on and promoted this approach according to their own vision. The South African Police, as an institution, also pledged itself to community-oriented policing, although this approach was (initially) erroneously seen as merely a new style of policing (Prinsloo 1993:1). Community policing places special emphasis on role conflict and breach of faith between the police and the community which, in view of South Africa's history, is emphasised as an aspect of prime concern.

Against this background and with due allowance for future expectations to which the South African Police as an institution has committed itself, the research group was approached with regard to the most important justification for the existence of the police as summarised in . Table 1

Table 1: The most important justification for the existence of the police : personal opinions of the respondents (n=899)


                      RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                       GROUP            REGION

JUSTIFICATION         f      %         f      %        f          %

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Juridical           620  68,97       265  64,95      355      72,30

Political            20   2,22        13   3,19        7       1,43

Religious            26   2,89        13   3,19       13       2,65

Community service   216  24,03       107  26,22      109      22,19

Uncertain            17   1,89        10   2,45        7       1,43

-------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL               899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Statistical test results confirm the presence of statistically significant differences between the two regions as far as their views are concerned (F=4,404) (X=5,1792). According to Table 1, only an insignificant number of respondents were uncertain about their true viewpoint and selected political as well as religious grounds as the most important justification. That only 2,22 per cent of respondents regarded their role primarily as a political one is a surprisingly low result when one takes into account that all population groups with diverse political sentiments were involved in this study as well as the South African Police's history of political dominance and its misuse and abuse as an instrument of the State. On the other hand, support for the continuous precondemnation of what are deemed to be the results of "Afrikaner Calvinism" (see Brogden 1995: 68-72) seems to be questionable from a religious point of view.

The respondents predominantly espouse a juridical basis as the most important justification while community service received almost twice as little support. The latter is typical of a legalistic style of policing which is largely based on a "professional" model, which places a high premium on management and control in which careful organisation, specific responsibility, strict discipline, the more effective utilisation of staff and technology, stricter standards and improved training, which rigidly lay claim to subordination to the law and perceived equal rights, constitute important criteria.

The rendering of a "service" in accordance with public satisfaction and in which the risks of being victimised, the increase and decrease in fear of crime among the public, the extent to which social decline is curbed and the general quality of life in a residential area is supposed to receive priority as a criterion of policing effectiveness (Brown in Prinsloo 1993:24) are obviously aspects with which the research group is the least familiar or concerned and pose serious complications. It is common cause that where it was previously denied and evoked strong resistance from conventional police circles, community service problems brought to the police by the public as consumers of services, are indeed the essence of police work (see Goldstein 1990:35 and Toch & Grant 1991:3).

More recent research conducted amongst members of the South African Police in the Pretoria region (again) confirmed that they (still) are unprepared to meet expectations in this regard (see Conradie 1996:7, 8). It was established that the morale of the police is disturbingly low for persons who are supposed to be motivated by a humanitarian and altruistic philosophy as the basis of the service they are supposed to render, which may partly be due to a loss of a "sense of community" as well as a sense of disillusionment. It is also not surprising then that 56,2 per cent of the respondents, representing 56 per cent of the delimited police population who took part in the research, replied that community policing was failing (not working). Nearly 20 per cent (19,1%) of the respondents were totally unfamiliar with the existence and objectives of Community Policing Forums (CPF), although the establishment of such forums is statutorily enforced by the South African Police Service Police Act (68 of 1995) to make provision for the establishment and maintenance of a partnership between the police and the public and to promote communication, co-operation, joint problem identification and problem-solving by the Service and the community, to improve the rendering of police services to the community and transparency and accountability by the Police Service. The respondents furthermore feel that CPS's are only there to restrain their functioning (68 per cent - in fact, 90 per cent believe that politicians are forcing them to adopt a "soft" approach to criminals), that the community do not co-operate with them (63%) and that the community do not have a high regard for them (65%).

THE NECESSITY OF A POLICE SERVICE/FORCE

The reaction of the respondents to the question of how essential they regard a police service/force in society, is reflected in . Table 2

Table 2: The necessity of a police service in society : rating by the research group (n=899)




                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

ATTITUDE                   f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Absolutely essential     790  87,87       342  83,82      448      91,24

Essential                 88   9,79        53  12,99       35       7,13

Uncertain                 19   2,12        12   2,94        7       1,43

Unnecessery                1   0,11         1   0,25        -          -

Absolutely unnecessery     1   0,11         -      -        1       0,20

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although statistical test results point to significant statistical differences between the two regions (F=9,264)(X2=11,507), the respondents agree that a police service in society is still essential. Almost 98 per cent of the respondents support, broadly speaking, the essentiality of a police service.

The research group's view on the essentiality of a police service in itself can be a positive trend. However, against the background of respondents' consideration of reasons to justify the existence of a police service, the history of policing in South Africa as well as accusations concerning the authoritarian maintenance of the status quo in terms of the political agenda of the previous government and in respect of role fulfilment and division of function must also be noted. The South African Police was undoubtedly, as Marais and Rauch (s.a.:8, 18) put it, the "security establishment", under the direct control of the State, as a result of which a policing monopoly came into being. Given the admission and accompanying undertaking by the South African Police not to police "from an authoritarian power base" anymore (Prinsloo 1993:4), it cannot be regarded as a unilateral and unfounded accusation.

As far as the necessity of a police service is concerned, a good balance must be struck between society as a multiple interest group and the reality of multi-accountability. An overstatement of their perceived social importance could meaningfully influence a legalistic style of policing as well as the manifestation of an "occupational personality" by reason of the accompanying paramilitary nature, in spite of the supposedly "demilitarisation" of the police service, which in practical terms, only means that the names of military rank structures have been changed for alternatives.

PUBLIC ATTITUDE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE EXECUTION OF THEIR DUTIES BY THE POLICE

The quality of service rendered by the police is inevitably determined and influenced by the attitude of their clientele, especially where the police perform their duties in a "mechanical" way because of their disregard for public needs.

The research group reacted as follows to the question of whether the attitude of the public towards the police has any influence on the execution of their duties.

Table 3: Public attitude and its influence on the execution on the role fulfilment of the respondents (n=899)




                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

ATTITUDE                   f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Definitely              264   29,36       120  29,41      144      29,33

To a large extent       262   29,14       125  30,64      137      27,90

Uncertain                41    4,56        18   4,41       23       4,68

To a lesser extent      178   19,80        79  19,36       99      20,16

Not at all              154   17,14        66  16,18       88      17,93

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                   899  100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

An analysis of Table 3 suggests that the situation is not at all favourable. It must first be emphasised that there are no mutual significant statistical differences between the respondents of the two groups (regions) present (F=0,515) (X=0,36536), which therefore represents a common attitude. Only about 30 per cent of the respondents indicated that they are undoubtedly affected by the attitude of the public, or put differently, that they do, in fact, take notice of the public's attitude, expectations and disposition, even if it is negative. A further 30 per cent of the respondents to a "large extent" take notice of the public attitude, which points to the filtering of "favourable" attitudes which, in the (supposedly) sensitive context of policing, is questionable. Even if the collective attitude of these respondents is judged favourably, it still means that 40 per cent of the respondents reveal a "frigid" attitude, which constitutes an unacceptable quantum.

RATING OF PUBLIC ATTITUDE

The research group rated the attitude of the general public towards the South African Police as follows:

Table 4: the attitude of the general public towards the south african police as rated by the research group (n=899)




                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

JUSTIFICATION              f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Extremely favourable      16   1,78         3   0,73       13       2,65

Favourable               302  33,59       129  31,62      173      35,23

Uncertain                204  22,69        93  22,79      111      22,61

Unfavourable             332  36,93       164  40,20      168      34,22

Extremely unfavourable    45   5,01        19   4,66       26       5,29

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The mutual attitude between the respondents of the two groups (regions) is very consistent and is confirmed by the absence of significant statistical differences (F=3,404)(X2=3,3364). Broadly speaking, 35 per cent of the research group rate the public's attitude as favourable while 42 per cent rate it as negative. Since in this case a neutral (uncertain) attitude also has an unquestionably negative connotation, it consequently implies a negative rating by 65 per cent of the respondents.

PUBLIC ANTAGONISM

Attitudes are of primary importance in this regard because of their (supposed) impact on policing and the subsequent diligence with which police officers perform their duties. Table 5 shows the diverse levels of public antagonism experienced by the respondents in their capacity as police officials. Statistical test results also confirm significant differences in this regard (F = 5,842)(X2 = 5,6730).

Table 5: Public antagonism towards the police experienced by the research group (n=899)


                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

DEGREE OF                  f      %         f      %        f          %

ANTAGONISM

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Always                    65   7,23        40   9,80       25       5,09

Often                    316  35,15       150  36,76      166      33,81

Uncertain                196  21,80        82  20,10      114      23,22

Sometimes                294  32,70       123  30,15      171      34,83

Never                     28   3,12        13   3,19       15       3,05

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apart from those 42,38 per cent of respondents who either 'always' or 'often' experience public antagonism, a significant 21,80 per cent of respondents responded 'uncertain', which may be an indication of unassimilated feelings. Therefore the majority of respondents experience overtly public antagonism towards them as police officers.

The negative attitudes referred to above can be seen as typical and reciprocal reactions between the police and the public and the negative impact this has on policing should not be underestimated.

GREATER PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE EXECUTION OF THE POLICE'S DUTIES

The respondents reacted as follows to the question of whether greater acknowledgment of the public towards the police would have any influence on the execution of the police's duties:

Table 6: The influence of greater public acknowledgment on the execution of duties by the police : rating by the research group (n=899)






                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

ATTITUDE                   f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Definitely               526  58,51       247  60,54      279      56,82

To greater extent        217  24,14        90  22,06      127      25,87

Uncertain                 43   4,78        18   4,41       25       5,09

To a lesser extent        60   6,67        29   7,11       31       6,31

Not at all                53   5,90        24   5,88       29       5,91

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Statistical test results confirm the commonality of the research group's attitude since there are no significant statistical differences present between the responses of the respective respondents (F=0,134)(X2=0,74535). If Table 6 is compared with Table 3, which similarly produced no significant statistical results, then the rating by the research group of the first-mentioned case is considerably "more favourable" in the sense that public acknowledgment will exercise a favourable influence on their role fulfilment. If the respondents who are "to a great extent" favourably predisposed by public acknowledgment and who therefore again emphasise the filtering of "favourable" attitudes are also considered, it means that in this way roughly 83,0 per cent communicate the need for acknowledgment and acceptance. Although 40 per cent of the respondents are "frigid" towards the public attitude, 82 per cent nevertheless indicate that greater acknowledgment by the public would influence them positively in their role fulfilment, which indicates a perceptual mistakenness by the police regarding the functional contact situation, which is probably due to the projection of objectives by the police. In principle, the police still do not realise that public respect, faith and support can only be obtained from the public by policing in a way that is reconcilable with public expectations.

ROLE EXPECTATIONS

The role expectations and functional preferences of the research group regarding the true meaning of the police role are shown in where Table 7respondents evaluate the importance of specific police functions. The rank order arrangement of functions is made possible by using mean and rank order percentage values.

Table 7 is indicative of greatly corresponding (homogeneous) attitudes which are present between the respondents of the two groups (regions). In most cases (74%), statistical test results confirm the communality of attitudes (homogeneous). Although equal priority is seemingly given to reactive policing (investigation of crime/restoring order) and proactive policing (prevention of crime/voluntary compliance with the law), certain inconsistencies are nevertheless observable. Functions which clearly pursue a reactive objective, for example, obtain an average rank order arrangement of 90,01 per cent. As against this, the average rank order arrangement in the case of functions with a proactive element, which is supposed to be the most important consideration, is 74,2 per cent, thus designating a conspicuously lower priority to proactive policing by the research group.

Specific examples strikingly illustrate the functional preferences of the research group. Detecting criminals receives a higher priority than any form of patrol, protecting and guiding the youth, educating society on crime, protecting democratic principles, mediating/defusing conflict and so on. It is significant that protecting and guiding the youth as well as educating society as primary crime prevention strategies, enjoy a considerably lower priority than other more "popular" and conventional functions. It is also ironical that the willingness of the research group to collect evidence to prove guilt declines drastically as they consider collecting evidence to prove innocence. However, the latter may be, as has already been mentioned, a typical and reciprocal reation and/or reflection of a culture of violence, disrespect, criminal entitlement and self-righteousnes, which at present is lurking in the South African community.

Table 7: Importance of police functions : rating by the research group (n=899)


                                       Rank order %          Mean value          Kruskal-            Variance analysis

                                                                                 Wallis-

                                                                                 test

                                       ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                       Pta     East          Pta       East        X2              F            Nature

                                               Cape                    Cape

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Investigation of crime               95,69    96,70         1,05       1,03      3,6300          2,4594         Homogeneus#

Detecting criminals                  92,94    95,64         1,08       1,05      9,6707         12,358          Heterogeneous*

Foot patrol                          73,73    75,48         1,37       1,32      0,69155         1,561          Homogeneus

Mounted/cycle patrol                 63,97    59,55         1,56       1,68      8,1771          8,370          Heterogeneous*

Motorised patrol                     88,24    88,96         1,13       1,12      0,1237          0,562          Homogeneus

Aerial support                       82,70    78,98         1,21       1,27     11,122           8,175          Heterogeneous*

Protecting and guiding the youth     87,40    87,41         1,14       1,14      0,38690         0,000          Homogeneus

Prevention of crime                  95,88    96,42         1,04       1,04      0,04284         0,752          Homogeneus

Collecting evidence to prove guilt   90,34    90,92         1,11       1,10      0,43841         0,393          Homogeneus

Administering punishment             56,81    56,33         1,76       1,78      0,05049         0,064          Homogeneus

Non-juridical (social) auxiliary     66,23    67,33         1,51       1,49      0,70701         0,646          Homogeneus

services

Collecting evidence to prove         74,36    74,38         1,34       1,34      0,41544         0,000          Homogeneus

innocence

Educating society on crime           88,14    87,78         1,13       1,14      0,64065         0,099          Homogeneus

Passing judgment on guilt and        61,42    60,57         1,63       1,65      0,20630         0,190          Homogeneus

Maintenance or order                 96,76    97,96         1,03       1,02      5,6053          5,667          Heterogeneous*

Enforcinh the law                    90,34    91,12         1,11       1,10      0,40504         0,575          Homogeneus

Protecting people and property       95,05    95,72         1,05       1,04      0,44320         1,230          Homogeneus

Protecting democratic principles of  80,54    79,88         1,24       1,25      0,63368         0,228          Homogeneus

society

Management of traffic violations     69,61    68,19         1,44       1,47      0,36001         0,740          Homogeneus

and accidents

Settling domestic disputes           52,94    50,84         1,89       1,97      1,6452          1,783          Homogeneus*

Mediating/defusing politically       66,47    71,08         1,50       1,41      7,1143          7,228          Heterogeneous*

inspired conflict

Supperssing sabotage/terror          85,59    89,82         1,17       1,11      7,9876         10,526          Heterogeneous

Ensuring the orderly continued       87,75    88,47         1,14       1,13      0,04530         0,367          Homogeneus

existence of essential social 

institutions (eg. school and church)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Significant at 5% level (=0,05) # Approaching significance

Within a perspective of a sensitive disposition towards the community amidst an unarguable public demand for community service, the functional priority given to non-juridical services, protecting the democratic principles of society, mediating in conflict and so on is alarming. It is lastly disquieting that nearly 83 per cent of the respondents gave any consideration at all to administering of punishment as a police function. Moreover, a higher priority is accorded to this so-called "police function" than to the settling of domestic disputes. What makes the situation even more ludicrous is the fact that the research group regarded the administering of punishment as even more important than their self-acclaimed "duty" to pass judgement on guilt or innocence! In the latter instance, an average of 74,4 per cent of the respondents gave some degree of consideration to judgements on guilt/innocence as a supposed police function.

It is evident from the aforementioned that a reactionary legalistic approach enjoys functional preference. Non-juridical services, domestic disputes and traffic matters receive the lowest priority. The functional priorities of the research group also support the suggestion of an "occupational personality".

THE HONESTY OF POLICE OFFICIALS

The research group was used as a form of peer evaluation to judge the general honesty with which their colleagues execute their duties, to which they responded as indicated in Table 8 below.

Table 8: The research group's rating of the honesty with which police officers execute their duties (n=899)


                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

ATTITUDE                   f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Undoubtely honest        100  11,12        50  12,25       50      10,18

Usually honest           616  68,52       268  65,69      348      70,88

Uncertain                130  14,46        66  16,18       64      13,03

Usualy dishonest          41   4,56        19   4,66       22       4,48

Undoubtely                12   1,34         5   1,22        7       1,43

dishonest

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Statistical test results point to the absence of statistically significant differences between the respondents (F=0,028) (X2 = 0,08406) of the two groups (regions), suggesting therefore a common attitude and/or therefore a universal trend. Table 8 indicates that only 11 per cent of the research group sustain the total integrity of police officers. Within the context of the specific, unique and sensitive task of policing during which the general public must be able to rely unconditionally and at all times on the integrity of police officials, this aspect is deplorable. If those who are of the opinion that police officers who are "usually" honest are also to be regarded as a "favourable" response - although such an opinion is extremely debatable - it then implies that 79,6 per cent of the research group regard their peers generally as honest. This implies that 20,4 per cent of the research group do not regard police officers as being honest at all.

DIFFERENTIATED POLICING

Mention is often made of differentiated action taken by the police. Table 9 shows the degree to which the research group proclaim their impartial role fulfilment (never) and/or discriminatory role fulfilment (always and often). The extent to which the research group is uncertain about its action or reveals dubious action (uncertain and sometimes) is also indicated. The latter category can hardly be rated as favourable and implies a strong potential for discriminatory action, irrespective of cases where it has not already (sometimes) manifested itself. Table 9 indicates divergent views between the respondents of the two regions (groups) with one exception, namely political affiliation. Generally speaking, apart from the presence of significant statistical differences between the two regions, the research group regard educational qualifications as the one attribute which influences them most during role fulfilment while religious convictions and gender have the least influence.

Table 9: Impartial and/or discriminatory policing by the research group (n = 899) : percentages


         



                            PRETORIA REGION                              EASTERN CAPE

                       Impartial  Uncertain  Different-         Impartial  Uncertain  Different-

                                  /doubtful  iating                        /doubtful  iating

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Educational              30,15      30,85      39,00              37,88       33,00     29,12

qualifications

Economic position        35,26      33,58      31,13              42,36       35,44     22,20

Vocation                 33,08      42,17      24,75              40,73       37,48     21,79

Spcial status            35,54      34,07      30,39              39,31       37,88     22,91

Language preference      37,50      32,84      29,66              46,03       31,14     23,83

Nationality              46,08      29,90      24,02              54,79       28,71     16,50

Population group (race)  47,06      26,72      26,22              53,97       26,89     19,14

Political association    46,32      33,09      20,59              47,25       35,85     16,90

Religious convictions    53,43      26,48      20,09              61,30       16,48     12,22

Gender                   52,21      28,92      18,87              62,93       24,85     12,22

Previous convictions     38,72      38,98      22,30              50,51       35,44     14,05

Appearance               41,18      31,61      27,21              45,42       33,81     20,77

Average percentage       41,38      32,43      26,19              48,54       32,16     19,30

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About 45 per cent of the research group deny any discriminatory role fulfilment. Logically, by their own admission, role fulfilment by 55 per cent of the research group must therefore be questioned. This implicit admission of discriminatory policing by an average of some 23 per cent of the research group is a distressful tendency, which implies that 1 out of every 4 (4,40) respondents admits to discriminating policing. Common attributes which have relevance to socio-economic status, cultural preference and appearance seem to influence the respondents within both regions in particular towards differentiated policing. The general tendency is that especially the lower ranks, who also deal with the public most of the time, are to a greater extent inclined to differentiated policing.

PERSONNEL TURNOVER

Only 50,80 per cent of the entire research group indicated that they had not yet seriously considered leaving the "Service", a tendency which reflects a common attitude between the two regions as indicated by the absence of any significant statistical differences (F=0,840)(X2=0,99063). It is also evident from, and confirmed by the 49,30 per cent of respondents who formed part of a preliminary investigation and indicated that they also had, in fact, already considered leaving the "Service", that this tendency is undoubtedly more prevalent within the South African Police as a universe.

According to the responses by the research group, the most important reasons for the volume of personnel turnover are, poor salary, frustrating working conditions, unfair treatment by seniors, favouritism by seniors, applications for transfer to other sections which are constantly opposed, too much administrative red tape, the negative attitude of the public towards the police and the uncertainty and possible risk which a new political dispensation poses for members of the police. Reasons advanced least are the feeling amongst respondents that they do not have an aptitude for police work, have little interest in police work, experience too much discipline, the police service is merely regarded as an interim career, burdened with too many responsibilities, have too much work, conflict with the public and the negative experience of the police subculture. The reasons mentioned first and last establish a balance with regard to the attitudes of the respondents and are primarily related to the internal milieu of the functionaries and their experience thereof. These aspects confirm that the research group holds less favourable perceptions relating to administration, staff management and a motion of no confidence in seniors who are in command.

The internal milieu and experience thereof as primary reasons for the turnover in labour is also confirmed independently by the research group itself. The questionnaire also made provision in this particular case for unspecified (additional) reasons which they might wish to advance. A prioritisation of these reasons within a regional context shows marked mutual resemblance with each other vide in Table 10.

Table 10: Unspecified reasons for potential turnover of labour by the research group (n=32)




                                      PRETORIA REGION                 EASTERN REGION

REASON                                 f            %                  f           %

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mutual discrimination on the basis     9        52,94                  5       33,33

of population group

Promotion policy                       3        17,65                  4       26,67

Politicising and polical               3        17,65                  3       20,00

Incompetence of seniors                2        11,76                  3       20,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                                 17       100,00                 15      100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reasons brought up by a few respondents are that they are not employed in the field in which they have received training, discrimination on the basis of gender, mutual jealousy amongst functionaries, restraints imposed upon the police, duty in unrest areas, insufficient equipment to do the job properly and the precedence sports has over essential policing duties.

From this it is clearly evident that a substantial percentage of the labour force of the South African Police reflect a situation where they are aggrieved and frustrated which can be directly linked to the internal bureau-pathological milieu to which functionaries are daily exposed to.

LABOUR UNION FOR POLICE

A labour union for the police, implicating aspects such as collective bargaining power, claims and rights of workers, the supply and withholding of labour, were intensely and emotionally debated during the writing of the interim and final constitutions of South Africa (Government proposal on a Charter of Fundamental Rights, 2 February 1993:11, 12; African National Congress: A Bill of Rights for a Democratic South Africa - Working Draft for Consultation, 1991:54, 55). While the previous government (suddenly) submitted that "Subsection (1) shall not preclude the prohibition of strikes in strategic industries and essential services or by persons in the Service of the State...", the standpoint of the African National Congress, as the governing party, is that workers "shall have the right to strike under law in pursuance of their social and economic interests, subject to reasonable limitations in respect of the interruption of services such as would endanger the life, health, or personal safety of the community or any section of the population". This proved to be mere rhetoric because nurses, warders and police officials have since all engaged in strikes without proper regard for the services they are supposed to render. It is therefore not strange that Chapter 9 of the South African Police Services Act (68 of 1995), which regulates the terms and conditions of service of police officials, effectively prohibits all strikes, inducements or conspirings to strike by members of the police in that section 41(1) determines that "No member shall strike, induce any other member to strike or conspire with another person to strike".

The idealistic view is sometimes also taken by opponents of a labour union for the police that those who are associated with a supposed service profession should be morally exalted above the activities of a labour union. One opinion being propagated (Smit & Botha 1990: 36) is that the more restrictions are placed upon the police, the more democratic (free) a society becomes and vice versa. According to Smit and Botha, this principle ensures the maintenance of a 'balance' between the police and society. It is not clear though how such a biased argument can be said to be based on 'democratic' principles. If democracy does not apply to the police, the police are surely not in 'balance' with society and are, in fact, not an integral part of society. Smit and Botha are perhaps premature in their simplistic equation of 'democracy' with 'freedom' and even accountability. For these proponents, a grievance procedure provides the solution to all internal and labour-related problems.

Historically, until shortly before the new democratic government took power, labour union activities in the South African Police were prohibited by law. Labour union activities were partly regarded as taboo because of the potential withholding of labour, which, as mentioned, is now supposed to be a constitutionally accepted and guaranteed right. However, to withhold labour is probably more a professional-ethical question than a principle fundamental to labour unions. In this regard it should be remembered that strikes are the result of grievances that are not accommodated and/or poorly handled thereof (cf. Potgieter 1992:6). It also serves no purpose not to strike because of moral convictions regarding "service" being rendered while the quality of the "service" is suspect and violence and accompanying inhuman criminal practices (still) reach unacceptable proportions.

Service rendered by frustrated individuals is characterised by the negative effect it has on the service. Labour unions promote the rights of the individual and not so much the aims of the profession (cf. Potgieter 1992:48). This step is also not unfamiliar when viewed within the perspective of the historical run of events. The interests of the "institution" were promoted at the expense of the rights of the individual during the preliminary pursuit of "professionalism". The stereotyped and often rationalised argument that strikes interfere with the "interests of the community" can surely also be advanced in this regard - however, those people who advance this argument always neglect to state which community they have in mind!

Table 11: Support for the establishment of a labour union for the police by the research group (n=899)






                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            REGION

DEGREE OF SUPPORT          f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Definitely afree         247  27,47       118  28,92      129      26,27

Agree                    195  21,69        95  23,28      100      20,37

Uncertain                253  28,14       111  27,21      142      28,92

Disagree                 108  12,01        46  11,27       62      12,63

Definitely disagree       96  10,69        38   9,32       58      11,81

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The response in Table 11 points to a common support of 49,2 per cent of the research group for the establishment of a trade union, suggesting once again a common attitude by reason of the absence of any significant statistical differences (F=2,823)(X2=2,7108). A meaningful 28,1 per cent of the respondents are, generally speaking, uncertain about their support for or against a labour union while a minority of 22,7 per cent declared themselves against the institution of a labour union.

It will also definitely be difficult to rationalise the majority support for a labour union to an "extreme" group of respondents. During the preliminary investigation, which preceded this project, comprising a research group of whom up to 70,20 per cent were commissioned officers, some 55,70 per cent supported a labour union. A more detailed analysis of the data shows that the biggest support for a labour union is in the lower rank groupings (non-commissioned officers and junior commissioned officers). Senior ranks, who will undoubtedly also be affected most by a labour union, show least support for a labour union.

INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE

The scenario proferred to the research group was that independent members of the public would be co-responsible for investigations into allegations of unethical and/or misconduct and criminal offences by members of the South African Police, as distinct from closed internal investigation conducted by their peers. This practice is in line with the principle of monitoring in western police forces by public monitors who have a wider variety of functional activities which are accompanied by a greater "openness" in policing. Table 12 shows the reaction of the research group.

Table 12: Support for the establishment of a complaints directorate by the research group (n=899)


                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            

DEGREE OF SUPPORT          f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Definitely afree         142  15,79        76  18,63       66      13,44

Agree                    245  27,25       113  27,70      132      26,88

Uncertain                157  17,46        76  18,63       81      16,50

Disagree                 211  23,47        86  21,08      125      25,46

Definitely disagree      144  16,03        57  13,96       87      17,72

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Table 12 indicates a larger measure of disagreement regarding a complaints directorate of the abovementioned nature than in the case of a labour union. Statistical test results point to mutual significant statistical differences between the responses of the respondents (F=6,697)((X2=6,6190) of the two groups (regions). Some 43 per cent of the research group declared themselves in favour of a complaints directorate while 39,5 per cent opposed it. The remaining 17,5 per cent indicated their response as uncertain.

It is clear from Tables 11 and 12 that greater support for a labour union is directed at the internal milieu and internal affairs while a complaints directorate is seen to a larger extent as an external interference in domestic matters. It is also informative that senior officers oppose a labour union most and no doubt see it as a threat. Senior officers in the Pretoria region, on the other hand, are more supportive of a complaints directorate and therefore advocate more accountable policing practices. Senior officers in the Eastern Cape hold the opposite opinion and probably interpret "external" influences as "unprecedented".

DEPARTMENTAL DISCIPLINARY TRIALS

The research group evaluated the way in which departmental disciplinary trials are conducted as indicated in Table 13.

Table 13: The research group's evaluation of the way in which departmental disciplinary trials are conducted (n=899)


                           RESEARCH         PRETORIA        EASTERN CAPE

                            GROUP            

DEGREE OF FAIRNES          f      %         f      %        f          %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Very fair                 71   7,90        37   9,07       34       6,92

Fair                     326  36,26       145  35,54      181      36,86

Uncertain                249  27,70       102  25,00      147      29,94

Unfair                   179  19,91        95  23,28       84      17,11

Very unfair               74   8,23        29   7,11       45       9,17

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00       408 100,00      491     100,00

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Table 13 shows a common attitude between the two groups (regions) of respondents in respect of their evaluation of departmental disciplinary trials which can be attributed to the absence of any significant statistical differences (F=0,015) (X2=0,00057). The way in which departmental disciplinary trials are conducted is regarded by 44,2 per cent of the research group as fair. This figure is alarmingly low where it concerns such a sensitive matter which must be associated with fairness, justness and judicial integrity. Nearly 30 per cent regard departmental disciplinary trials as unfair while up to 27,7 per cent are uncertain about their true feeling, thereby indicating that the procedure is definitely questioned.

Especially the lower ranks (constables and sergeants) believe least in the degree of fairness with which departmental disciplinary trials are conducted. Although still marginal (about 56,3 per cent) considerably more members of the middle ranks believe in the fairness of departmental trials while roughly 75 per cent of senior officers are of the opinion that departmental disciplinary trials are carried out in a fair way.

OFFICIAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

A grievance procedure was implemented in May 1991 already and has therefore been in force for a considerable time. This procedure is proffered among other things as an alternative for a labour union.

Awareness of the grievance procedure

involveTable 14s those respondents who are aware that an official grievance procedure has been implemented by the South African Police as well as the number of respondents who are aware of how this grievance procedure functions.

Table 14: The research group's awareness of the implementation and functioning of the official grievance procedure (n=899)




RESPONDENTS WHO ARE AWARE OF THE         RESPONDENTS WHO ARE AWARE OF THE 

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GRIEVANCE          FUNCTIONING OF THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

PROCEDURE

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  RESEARCH    PRETORIA    EASTERN          RESEARCH   PRETORIA    EASTERN

   GROUP       REGION      CAPE             GROUP      REGION      CAPE

  f     %     f     %     f     %          f     %     f     %     f     %

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

618 68,74   267 65,44   351 71,49        429 47,72   176 43,14   352 51,53

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Table 14 shows firstly that just over two-thirds (68,7 per cent) of the research group are actually aware of the implementation of the official grievance procedure. Statistical test results indicate common responses within and between the two groups (regions) of respondents (F=3,798)(X2=3,7862).

The senior officers (major and higher) are time and again well informed while an average of about 88 per cent of the middle ranks (warrant officer to captain) are aware of the procedures which have been implemented. On the other hand, an average of about 62 per cent of the respondents representing the lower ranks (constable and sergeant) are aware of the grievance procedure.

Table 14 shows further that only 47,7 per cent of the research group are aware as to how the implemented procedure actually functions. Senior officers were once again well informed, the middle ranks to a lesser extent while the lower ranks were least informed. This means that an average of 72 per cent of the middle ranks and as little as 39 per cent of the lower ranks were conversant with the functioning of the grievance procedure. Significant statistical differences are also in this case present between the respondents of the two regions (F=6,318)(X2=6,2808).

The above tendencies show a serious lacuna in the internal and especially the "downward" communication of the South African Police. They also indicate that it is not only the lower ranks who are not aware of the grievance procedure or its functioning. Nearly 30 per cent of the middle ranks are in the dark about the functioning of the grievance procedure. This tendency also manifested itself during the preliminary investigation. Although 70,2 per cent of the preliminary research group comprised commissioned officers, 84 per cent of this group were aware of the implementation of the official grievance procedure whilst 67 per cent were aware of how the grievance procedure functions.

Functioning of the grievance procedure

The respondents who indicated that they are indeed aware of the functioning of the grievance procedure indicate in Table 15 how familiar they really are with its functioning.

Table 15 shows that only 67,6 per cent of the respondents who indicated that they are, indeed, aware of the functioning of the grievance procedure are, in fact, satisfied with the nature of the knowledge they have, indicating that the ignorance of the official grievance procedure is not limited to the lower ranks or to a specific profile of respondents. The latter tendency is also confirmed by the preliminary research group where 85 per cent indicated that they were satisfied with the status of their knowledge.

Table 15: Evaluation by the research group of the status of their awareness of the functioning of the official grievance procedure (n=429)




                           RESEARCH               PRETORIA            EAST. CAPE

                            GROUP

STATUS OF                  f      %               f      %              f      %

AWARENESS

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Am totally conversant    101  23,54              47  26,70             54  21,34

with it

Am of the opinion that   189  44,06              83  47,16            106  41,89

my knowledge thereof is 

sufficient

Uncertain                 30   6,99              10   5,68             20   7,90

I would like to know     109  25,41              36  20,46             73  28,87

more thereof

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    429 100,00             176 100,00            253 100,00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Accessibility of the grievance procedure

Evaluation by the research group of the absolute accessibility of the official grievance procedure to all members of the South African Police is shown in Table 16.

Table 16: Opinion of the research group regarding the accessibility of the grievance procedure to all members of the "service" (n=899)




                           RESEARCH               PRETORIA            EAST. CAPE

                            GROUP

OPINION                    f      %               f      %              f      %

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes                      400  44,49             169  41,42            231  47,05

No                       204  22,69             103  25,24            101  20,57

Uncertain                295  32,82             136  33,34            159  32,38

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00             408 100,00            491 100,00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

According to Table 16, only 44,5 per cent of the overall research group experience the official grievance procedure as accessible to all members of the "Service" which, as a result of the absence of any significant statistical differences between the respondents of the two groups (regions), points to a common negative attitude (F=1,268)(X2=1,4322) by the research group, especially the lower ranks (constable and sergeant), with regard to the accessibility to the official grievance procedure. Almost 40 per cent of the preliminary research group questioned the accessibility of the grievance procedure as well.

Fear of prejudice

In continuity with the research group's perception of the accessibility of the official grievance procedure, they were also asked about their views on the possibility that fear of prejudice by members of the South African Police is so strong that the effective functioning of the grievance procedure can be questioned. The reaction of the research group is summarised in . Table 17

Table 17: Viewpoint of the research group regarding the fear of prejudice by members of the south african police and the resultant ineffective functioning of the grievance procedure (n=899)


                           RESEARCH               PRETORIA            EAST. CAPE

                            GROUP

OPINION                    f      %               f      %              f      %

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Definitely agree         185  20,58              92  22,55             93  18,94

Agree                    307  34,15             132  32,35            175  35,64

Uncertain                339  37,71             157  38,48            182  37,07

Disagree                  60   6,67              24   5,88             36   7,33

Definitely disagree        8   0,89               3   0,74              5   1,02

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00             408 100,00            491 100,00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The research group has a common attitude, as expounded in Table 17, on account of the absence of any significant statistical differences between the respondents of Pretoria and the Eastern Cape (F=0,959)(X2=0,66717). Some 55 per cent of the research group agree with the perception of fear of prejudice amongst members of the South African Police and the resulting bad influence this has on the efficiency of the official grievance procedure. Only 7 per cent of the research group do not agree with the standpoint while up to 37 per cent are uncertain about their true belief. It is therefore clear that the latter category of respondents are also critical of the grievance procedure and their fear of prejudice in particular. In the case of the preliminary research group, up to 66 per cent of the respondents shared in this perception of fear of prejudice amongst members.

It appears that members' fear of prejudice constitutes a common view amongst the members of the research group. Respondents who support the point of view of members who fear prejudice total approximately 52 per cent of officials in the lower ranks (constable and sergeant), 68 per cent in the middle ranks and 53 per cent in the senior ranks. In this case senior officers therefore concur to a greater extent with the other ranks than is the case with the other aspects mentioned. The middle ranks (warrant officer to captain) responses are indicative of the pressure under which they are in this regard.

Efficiency of the official grievance procedure

The standpoint of the research group regarding the efficiency with which grievances can be settled through the official grievance procedure is contained in Table 18.

Table 18: The attitude of the research group regarding the efficiency with which grievances can be dealt with by means of the official grievance procedure (n=899)


                           RESEARCH               PRETORIA            EAST. CAPE

                            GROUP

DEGREE OF EFFICENCY        f      %               f      %              f      %

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Extremely efficient       75   8,34              32   7,84             43   8,76

Efficient                286  31,81             129  31,62            157  31,98

Uncertain                380  42,27             173  42,40            207  42,16

Inefficient              123  13,68              53  12,99             70  14,26

Extremely inefficient     35   3,90              21   5,15             14   2,84

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                    899 100,00             408 100,00            491 100,00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The data contained in Table 18 points once again to a common attitude among the members of the research group. There are no significant statistical differences present in this regard (F=0,776)(X2=0,39361). Only about 40 per cent of the research group regard the grievance procedure as efficient while 42 per cent have doubts about it (uncertain). Nearly 18 per cent of the respondents summarily slated the grievance procedure as inefficient.

The lower ranks (constable and sergeant) accepted the unqualified efficiency of the official grievance procedure as a way to take care of grievances in the case of nearly 40 per cent of the respondents. In the case of the middle ranks only 37 per cent of the respondents concerned supported the supposed efficiency of the grievance procedure unconditionally. Some 60 per cent of the respondents representing the senior officers supported the efficiency of the grievance procedure.

CONCLUSION

From the foregoing it is evident that the research group agree mainly on the most important reason to justify the existence of a police service and that a public police institution (in the form of the South African Police) is essential to the community. A juridical foundation is always preferred as the basis for justifying the South African Police as an institution. At the same time this juridical foundation serves as justification for a "neutral" and "objective" "service" (cum force) which is legally inspired and focused on authoritarian law enforcement.

In South Africa (especially) as well as in the Western World the legal model has defeated its own objectives. As in many other cases, local research has revealed that specific groups of the population have lost confidence in official structures for the administration of justice. Where the historically legalistic disposition remains extremely dominant in the South African Police, it poses distinct problems for future expectations of and commitment to "community policing". The feasibility of future public expectations and undertakings given with regard to community policing must be questioned in the light of the aforementioned realities. Retrospective responsibility "requiring police to offer legally acceptable justification for their operation [to the state and the bench] after they have been undertaken" (Brogden et al. 1988:152) will not be acceptable to the public as role allocator in future. The so-called independence and objectivity of the State as well as the judiciary have also achieved little besides to alienate the public from the legal system.

The research group display an unacceptably "frigid" disposition to the attitude of the public. A great need for acknowledgment and acceptance is communicated at the same time as implicit conditions for rendering a more efficient/dedicated service. A definite selective disposition to public attitudes, demands and expectations comes to the fore. It is also evident that a frigid and selective disposition to the public manifests itself in a negative experience of the public's attitude, establishing a vicious circle which is strengthened mutually. For lack of the necessary recognition, for which there is a definite need, role fulfilment primarily takes place in a reactive and legalistically inspired way since policing must inevitably be carried out from a power base. The negative experience of the public's attitude and its antagonism must surely have an impact on the functionary and his/her resultant role fulfilment. Both the antagonised public and the antagonising police, and vice versa, can, to a great extent, be regarded as victims of circumstances and ideologies in South Africa which are maintained by means of mutual reinforcement. In reaction to the aforementioned experiences, and although this does not constitute the only mode of reaction, discriminatory policing as a form of psychosocial pathology should not be ignored. This premise is confirmed by the admission of the research group that role fulfilment of an average 55 per cent of the respondents is in conflict with the historical philosophy of policing as a result of its potentially discriminatory nature.

The degree of honesty with which the research group, as fellow role fulfillers, rated the average police officer in his role fulfilment is, to say the least, deplorable. The 20,4 per cent of the respondents who rated the honesty of the role fulfiller negatively may seem to be very relative. If one takes into consideration, however, that the two groups of respondents were absolutely unanimous in their rating together with the principle that the mean of the random test is indicative of the mean of the universe and that the tendency observed will therefore continue, then it poses far-reaching implications. In the case of the most favourable rating, where 20,4 per cent of the population's honesty is questioned, it implies that 1 out of every 5 (4,90) police officers cannot be trusted. If only the 11,1 per cent of the respondents, who responded in their rating with "undoubtedly honest", is regarded as acceptable, then it implies that the integrity of only 1 out of every 9 (8,99) police officers cannot be relied on.

Under some of the circumstances descrbibed above the potential and real staff turnover of the police as well as support for a labour union are no strange considerations. The attitude of approaching departmental disciplinary trials with a great deal of mistrust and a perception of iniquity, is not found only among certain respondents. Some 25 per cent of the senior officers and 43,7 per cent of the middle ranks are critical of the departmental disciplinary procedures apart from a mere 40 per cent (39,77) of the constables and sergeants who accept the legitimacy of departmental disciplinary trials.

The sad state of communication and lack of confidence in the "Service", with a distinct lack of downward communication of information, and which obviously also takes place in a selective way, is reflected in Table 19. This state of affairs focuses involuntarily on the question of what the real state, quality and credibility of external communication is and how much willingness there is to do so, if internal communication is conducted in such a way.

Table 19: A review of the research group's evaluation of the grievance procedure : representative percentages (n=899)




                      AM AWARE          AM AWARE           INACCESSIBLE      FEAR             INEFFECTIVE/

                      OF                OF                 /QUESTIONS        PREJUDICE/       QUESTIONS 

                      IMPLEMENTA-       FUNCTIONING        ACCESSIB-         QUESTIONS        EFFECTIV-

                      TION OF           OF                 ILITY             NON-             ENESS

                      PROCEDURE         PROCEDURE*                           PREJUDICE

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pretoria region         65,44             43,14                58,58           93,38             60,54

E. Cape                 71,49             51,53                52,95           91,65             59,26

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL                  68,74              47,72                55,51           92,44             59,95

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Only 67,70 per cent of this category of respondents, however, are satisfied with the state of their awareness; in other words, 32,36 per cent of the total research group or 46,93 per cent of the respondents who are aware of the implementation of the official grievance procedure.

It is evident from Table 19 as well as from previous tables in this discussion that substantial percentages of the respondents are extremely critical and suspicious of their milieu, so much so, in fact, that structures established for their benefit and to entrench their rights are experienced as negative or even seen as a threat. These reactions cannot be brushed aside as coincidental or unrealistic bias as even senior officers (53,26 per cent) and middle ranks (67,69 per cent) agree that fear of prejudice constitutes a real stumbling block to the effective functioning of the grievance procedure.

The aspects discussed above are not only an explicit motion of no confidence in the power structure of the South African Police, the way they function and the protection which internal structures offer to individual members, but are also a rejection of the grievance procedure and serve as a rationale for the implementation of a labour union. These experiences of the internal milieu of the South African Police clearly undermine the devotion and diligence of the individual officer in his/her fulfilment of his/her role in a way that is counterproductive to a more democratic policing.


Table of Contents | The Effect of Suspicion on Personality Ratings

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