1,500 S.Africa police have criminal records

Published July 28, 2013

| AFP

Almost 1,500 of South Africa's police officers have themselves committed crimes in a nation where security forces are notorious for brutality and corruption, according to an audit released Sunday.

"The audit established that 1,448 members have criminal offences," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced in a statement.

The two-year-long audit into the South African Police Service's (SAPS) 157,500 members found "serious challenges" in managing police discipline.

The service will now launch a review into the offences, to be completed by October, said Mthethwa.

Main opposition party the Democratic Alliance demanded that all police workers with criminals records "be dismissed with immediate effect."

"All members of the SAPS, including those within its leadership, should be professional police officers who protect South Africans from criminals, they should not and cannot be criminals themselves," said the party's shadow police minister Dianne Kohler Barnard in a statement.

Well-publicised accounts of police brutality and corruption allegations have drained trust in South Africa's security force.

A police chief was jailed in 2010 for taking bribes from a drug dealer.

Nine policemen are awaiting trial on murder charges after a leaked cellphone video showed them handcuffing a Mozambican to a police van and dragging him through the streets.

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