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Making further inquiries - Policing in context in Brixton and Khayelitsha

B Dixon


Only rarely do inquiries into policing investigate the social context within which it takes place. This article looks at two inquiries that chose to take on this task: Lord Scarman’s into the Brixton disorders in London in April 1981; and Justice Kate O’Regan and Advocate Vusi Pikoli’s into the current state of policing in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. It argues that they should be applauded for doing so, but draws attention to how difficult it can be to persuade governments to address the deep-rooted social and economic problems associated with crises in policing rather than focus on reforming the police institution, its policies, procedures and practices.