Knowing your rights will prevent police corruption

Date: 30 Apr 2011
AT THE HEART of police corruption and bribe demands is the public’s ignorance about their rights. That attitude drives the Stop Corruption Campaign in Parkview, a district of 11 suburbs, beginning this month. “The community has shelved the need to know their rights because they passed the buck to the people they expect to watch out for them,” said Geoff Klass, the chairman of the Parkview Community Police Forum (CPF). The forum joined forces with the Parkview SAPS to start distributing 22 000 pamphlets informing residents of their rights when dealing with police. They are also handing out windshield stickers bearing a Stop Corruption logo. The Stop Corruption Campaign comes after a year of daily reports from residents claiming they have been stopped by police officers, accused of drunken driving and then asked for bribes. Parkview station commander Colonel Nanda Moodley said this campaign set an example for the rest of the country about how to fight police corruption. “The authority of an officer takes eminence when a member of the public doesn’t know what to do,” Moodley said. Moodley said drivers could prevent bribery situations by showing officers that they knew their rights. This includes asking for a police officer’s identification and looking at the officer’s vehicle for plate and station information. In the past year, two Parkview station police officers have been dismissed and two suspended for corruption, Moodley said. “Our aim is to put all corrupt policemen away,” he said. Officials from the campaign’s corporate sponsors, Avery and Chartis, said that fighting police corruption was part of a wider fight against corruption in South Africa. “We don’t have to put up with mediocrity. We don’t have to put up with corruption. “We need to take matters into our own hands,” said Sean EnraghtMoony, secretary of the Parkview CPF. By Fenit Nirappil The Star 28/04/11 Late Edition