Police say 797 people have died in their custody or as a result of their actions over the past year.
Incidences of deaths have dropped by 7%, from 860 in the previous year.
This was revealed by Police Deputy Minister Maggie Sotyu and Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) Executive Director Francois Beukman, who tabled the ICD’s Annual Report for 2010/11 on Thursday.
According to the document, the 7% decrease was reported in six provinces, except for the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Northern Cape, which had experienced increases ranging from 4% to 28%.
Deaths in police custody amounted to 257 and deaths as a result of police action amounted to 540.
During the period of review, the ICD had received 5 869 cases for investigation and of these, 797 were notifications of deaths in police custody as a result of police actions.
Lots of complaints
Sotyu expressed concern about the 2 493 complaints alleging criminal conduct by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). Of this number, 70% of these were related to police brutality, namely common assault, assault (grievous bodily harm) and attempted murder. Allegations of torture accounted for 4% of allegations of criminal offences, whereas rape cases accounted for 2%.
According to Beukman, the ICD had made 501 recommendations for prosecution to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. Although the number of conviction was low, Beukman said it was encouraging that something positive was happening in convicting guilty police officers. - BuaNews