Once an enemy of the apartheid police, and an advocate by profession, Andrew Brown has worked as a police reservist for almost twenty years.
In his latest book Good Cop Bad Cop, he takes the reader on patrol with him – into the ganglands of the Cape Flats, the townships of Masiphumelele and Nyanga, and the high-walled Southern Suburbs.
The book is a personal account of the perilous and often conflicting work of a SAPS officer. Brown describes being shot at, arresting suspects in a drug bust, chasing down leads in a homicide investigation and keeping the peace during the UCT student protests.
The job of the police is difficult, says Brown, and it is easy to react with undue force.
Yet he argues passionately that the role of the police is to be a service to communities and not a force to suppress social discontent.
Brown describes how he met up with a policeman who had been his adversary during the struggle years of the 1980s. Now a reservist himself, they ended up having a conversation and a cigarette together.
I worked out that when I was at Mowbray, I had thrown stones at him, and he had shot me in the leg with a teargas canister. And we thought that was quite funny. We stood around and had a cigarette, and became good friends and work very closely together.— Andrew brown, author
Listen to the interview below: