South Africa's Incident Registration Information System (IRIS): Its use and abuse in protest analysis
South Africaâ€™s Incident Registration Information System (IRIS) is a comprehensive, computerised database maintained by the South African Police Service (SAPS). In principle, it records all public order policing activity including all crowd incidents. While IRIS data is, potentially, a unique source for protest event analysis, considerable care is required. We aim to correct misunderstandings about the data advanced by academics and in the media, and expose its misuse by police chiefs and politicians. In particular, the incidents that IRIS reports are not protests, though protests can be found in the raw data. This article is based, in part, on records of 156,230 incidents covering the period 1997-2013.
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