The police are supposed to protect the public from crime and violence, but some officers engage in unlawful behaviour such as corruption, brutality and torture.

We need police officers to adhere to high standards of conduct. Holding these police officers accountable for wrongdoing is therefore essential.

The factsheets below (available in 6 languages) were designed by a group of organisations advocating for human rights and justice for all people, including informal traders, students, immigrants, artisanal miners and people living in informal settlements. They are intended to help you to understand police powers, your rights when you encounter police and your options for reporting abuses of power by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The factsheets give information on:

    • Recording and reporting illegal police activity
    • When can police make arrests?
    • What happens during an arrest?
    • Rights of protesters
    • When can police use force?
    • What weapons can police use?
    • Gun-related offences
    • Police corruption
    • Police brutality in South Africa



Police accountability: Your rights while engaging with police in South Africa








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