South African police are increasingly under attack. Service delivery protests are becoming alarmingly violent, police stations are raided for weapons and uniforms, and servicemen and women are assaulted and slain – on and off duty.
However, this does not excuse members of the police from having to comply with the law. It also doesn’t justify acts of police brutality.
Reports of unlawful arrests, illegal detentions and the use of unnecessary force by police are reaching record highs. This disturbing rise in illegal acts by members of the police adds fuel to the fire, perpetuating a culture of violence and lawlessness.
More than R14bn in civil claims
A report tabled in Parliament revealed a marked escalation in the number of civil claims against the South African Police Service (SAPS). In the 2015/16 financial year, the total value of civil claims against the police skyrocketed to R14,6 billion, from R9,6 billion the previous year.
More than R290 million in compensation was paid out by the State, but it’s the pending claims that are particularly worrying. In the 2014/15 financial year, the value of civil claims that still had to be concluded stood at over R26 billion – a sum equivalent to more than a third of the total annual budget for the SAPS.
Wrongful arrest, illegal detention and police negligence
The vast majority of police assault claims related to wrongful arrest, illegal detention and negligent shooting incidents. Ill-discipline, inadequate training and a lack of compliance with standing orders have been identified as core reasons behind the spike in police brutality cases. It’s important to understand however that the fact that a prosecution hasn’t followed an arrest and detention, doesn’t mean that you are necessarily entitled to recover damages.
When can you lodge a personal injury claim against the SAPS?
If you’ve been seriously injured due to police assault, you may be able to claim compensation. Potentially, this includes compensation for the costs of current and future medical expenses, current and future loss of earnings and general damages.
Expert legal assistance for claims against the police
Any claim against an organ of State, like the SAPS, is subject to special rules and complexities, making it vital to get expert legal assistance. We can assess your claim, help prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Contact us at DSC Attorneys for the very best legal support and representation. Note that we work on a no win, no fee basis.