IPID police

IPID: Complaints against police soared during lockdown

Complaints against the police, including incidents of assault and death in custody increased during the Covid-19 lockdown according to IPID.

IPID police

Complaints against the police spiked during the national lockdown according to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s 2020/21 annual report that was released this week.

In the period under review, IPID experienced a high intake of cases which increased by 9 percent from 5 640 to 6 122 when compared to the previous financial year. 

The IPID investigated 5 998 cases which involved the SAPS members and 111 cases involving the MPS on various criminal offences. The remaining 13 cases involved civilians.

The five provinces with highest number of case intakes were as follows: Western Cape (1 224); Gauteng (1 082); KwaZulu/Natal (763); Free State (731) and  Eastern Cape (30). 

Complaints filed against the police were mostly to report incidents of assault (4 228) and discharge of and official firearm (830) followed by death as a result of police action (353), torture (256) and death in police custody (217). Assault contributed 69 per cent of the total case intake, followed by complaints of discharge of an official, (14%) death as a result of police action (6%) and death in police custody (4%). 

“This means that the majority of resources were spent investigating assault cases,” the report noted.

Most provinces experienced a decrease in cases related to death in police custody except KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Western Cape and Gauteng.

However it was evident that deaths as a result of police action had contributed more to the total amount of incidents of death. KwaZulu-Natal has the largest number of cases with 104 (29 per cent), followed by Gauteng with 89 (25 per cent), Western Cape with 44 (12 per cent) and Eastern Cape with 36 (10 per cent) cases.

“During the national lockdown, the IPID continued to provide key services to South African citizens. All IPID offices remained operational nationally. However, due to the lockdown restrictions, COVID-19 infections of IPID employees as well as other key stakeholders delayed the investigation process of cases,” IPID’s annual report noted. 

However, a total number of 106 disciplinary convictions was reported against police officers, and there was a total of 141 disciplinary acquittals.