GRIPES OR GRIEVANCES? What the Independent Complaints Directorate statistics tell us (or not)

  • David Bruce Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation
Keywords: South Africa, Independent Complaints Directorate, police, oversight, police brutality


When it was created, the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) was seen primarily as a mechanism for investigating and deterring human rights abuses by members of the SAPS. It was motivated by evidence of high levels of police brutality, including unjustified killings and the use of torture. However, according to ICD statistics, most complaints received by the ICD are not from victims of police brutality, but from members of the public dissatisfied with the quality of policing service provided to them. ICD statistics cannot therefore be used as indicators of overall levels of police brutality.

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