Police payed out R1.5bn in wrongful arrests in the last 5 years - ISS

The Institute for Security Studies head of justice and violence prevention Gareth Newham speaks to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies about the increasing trend of wrongful arrests by the police.

Last week Esethu Mcinjana was wrongfully arrested and locked up for sitting on a Sea Point park bench, taking a selfie. Also, a young man was locked up on Monday for talking back to a traffic officer who was in the process of giving his Uber driver a fine.

Read: Yet another case of brutality against Sea Point police

But what do ordinary citizens do if they find themselves in this situation?

According to Newham, there are about 15 000 civil claims that the South African Police Service had to pay out in 2016.

Read: Here is what to do if you get wrongfully arrested

One of the biggest causes of civil claims payouts against the police is wrongful arrests.

Gareth Newham, Head of justice and violence prevention - Institute for Security Studies

All the civil payout by the police for the past five years amounts to R1.5 billion.

Gareth Newham, Head of justice and violence prevention - Institute for Security Studies

The Criminal Procedure Act governs how and when you may arrest but police officers, unfortunately, officers in the South African Police Service and potentially in the Metro Police services see arrests as performance indicators.

Gareth Newham, Head of justice and violence prevention - Institute for Security Studies

Please take note of the following tips incase you do get arrested:

  • Police, traffic and metro police officers can arrest you without a warrant when they see you committing a crime or have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime.

  • When they arrest you they must announce their names and proof that they are police officers.

  • If they have a warrant of arrest, they must show it to you.

  • They must not use any force than it is necessary.

  • If you cooperate, there is no need to put cuffs on you.

  • As soon as they put handcuffs on you, they may not assault you or swear at you.

  • If you are wrongfully arrested, it is very important that you take down the name of the officer and file a formal complaint with the Saps as well as approach a lawyer for a civil redress.

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


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