Fighting Fire with an Inferno: The South African Police Service and the 'War' on Violent Crime

13 Jan 2016 - 09:15


In the context of high levels of firearm violence in South Africa this article assesses the attempts by the police to leverage effectual control over the proliferation and misuse of firearms. A key strategy has been that of militarised high density policing operations in the context of a ‘war on crime’ ideology. Through roadblocks and cordon-and-search interventions police have seized very large quantities of firearms and ammunition from high crime areas, and arrested thousands of individuals for a range of crimes, including being in possession of unlicensed firearms. Declining trends in firearm homicide between 1998 and 2011 possibly suggest that these SAPS operational efforts may have contributed to reductions in firearm homicide. However, such operations have led to the police being exceedingly invasive and employing heavy-handed methods. Some individuals have also been injured, or have lost their lives as a result of these police operations...

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Words by Guy Lamb