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SA Crime Quarterly

On-line version ISSN 2413-3108
Print version ISSN 1991-3877


BRUCE, David. Public order transparency: Using freedom of information laws to analyse the policing of protest. SA crime q. [online]. 2016, n.58, pp.23-33. ISSN 2413-3108.

This article discusses two research projects that have used the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to analyse protest in South Africa and the policing thereof. A total of 23 information requests were submitted on behalf of the two projects, 19 to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and four to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. The article starts by discussing police transparency in South Africa, information on the policing of protest that the SAPS routinely publishes in its annual report, the PAIA framework, and some of the limitations of the projects. It then focuses on insights into SAPS information on levels of protest and protest-related violence in South Africa that emerged from the two projects. This includes information disclosed by the police regarding their use of force during protests, and police accountability for this. The article concludes by reflecting on the implications of and lessons from these exercises in police transparency.

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