South Africa’s new police watchdog

16 April 2012

The new Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) will focus more on tackling corruption and human rights abuses involving the police than its predecessor, while making itself more accessible to the public, says the unit’s director, Francois Beukman.

The new unit replaced the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) this month.

Ipid is backed by a bigger budget, will recruit more investigators, open more offices, and put in place improved case management and performance management tools.

Police oversight strengthened

The Ipid Act strengthens police oversight in South Africa, requiring the national commissioner to move on Ipid’s findings by initiating disciplinary proceedings, and to report regularly on the progress of matters referred to police management.

Under the new Act, the police must also report to Ipid any matter falling under the scope of investigation of the directorate.

Speaking ahead of a presentation to Parliament’s portfolio committee on police in Cape Town on Monday, Beukman said the ICD’s shortcoming was that it had “tried to be a jack of all trades” on a limited budget, which often meant that it could not pay enough attention to human rights abuses and corruption.

The additional R36-million allocated to Ipid for the next financial year brings its total budget to R196-million.

The directorate currently has 139 investigators, who will also undergo training in areas such as DNA analysis, the investigation of sexual offences and torture, and forensic and ballistic evidence collection.

More accessible to the public

The new directorate will provide investigation advisory services and legal and litigation support, while ensuring that its investigations are properly measured on an ongoing basis.

It will also run various community awareness programmes and media campaigns, and set up nine more satellite offices in order to increase its accessibility to the public.

In addition to the current seven offices, three new ones will be set up 2013/14, in Ladysmith in the Free State, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, and KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga province.

In 2014/15, a further six offices will be set up in Worcester, Vereeniging, Klerksdorp, Kroonstad, Bela Bela and Springbok.

Source: BuaNews