Making sense of the numbers: Civil claims against the SAPS
In recent years reports have increasingly pointed to the mounting quantum of claims for civil damages faced by the South African Police Service (SAPS). A close analysis of the publicly available data shows that increasingly large amounts of claims are filed against the SAPS, but that most of these claims are finalised without the SAPS, being held financially liable. However, the backlog of claims is ever mounting and needs to be addressed more proactively. It appears that factors external to police officials’ behaviour do not explain the increase in claims. The reasons are more likely related to unlawful police behaviour, and in particular police violence.