Political change, organisational fluidity and police training

The South African case

  • Elrena van der Spuy University of Cape Town
Keywords: South Africa, Police Training, demilitarisation, professionalisation, specialisation


The establishment and evolution of a constitutional democracy held considerable implications for police training in South Africa. The historical record at our disposal indicates that since 1992 police training has been a topic of debate around which a wide range of practical interventions aimed at the restructuring of police training have been forthcoming.  The South African case study allows us to reflect on how the fortunes of police training – its philosophy, methodology and logistics – have been shaped by a complex mix of factors relating to structural realities, political developments and organisational changes.  This paper tracks the momentum for reform of police training which existed as the new constitutional rechtstaat came into being and the kinds of mechanisms which played a key role in creating a new vision for police training and translating that vision into practice. The focus then shifts to a consideration of the internal and external influences which have diluted the momentum for change. The paper concludes by reflecting on the latest round of conversations in which the need for reforming the processes of selection, recruitment, training and deployment of police recruits are identified.

South Africa – police training – demilitarisation – professionalisation – specialisation

How to Cite
van der Spuy, E. (2018). Political change, organisational fluidity and police training. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (17), 39-49. Retrieved from https://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/304

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