One of Parliament’s major tasks is overseeing the performance of the executive branch of government; that is, all the ministries and departments, including the Defence Force and the SA Police Service. A quick glance around the world shows that, where a country’s police force is subject to strong civilian control and oversight, it tends to work within the law, to respect human rights, and to combat crime effectively. On the other hand, where the police force escapes civilian control, it usually becomes a law unto itself, and human rights abuses, excessive force, corruption and unaccountability all flourish within its ranks. When the police spend their time breaking the law, they cannot fight crime with any consistency or efficiency.
BY MIKE POTHIER, SACBC PARLIAMENTARY LIAISON OFFICER