The South African Police have an obligation to serve and protect the public. Their duties are to prevent, combat, and investigate crimes, uphold the law, and maintain public order.
Legally, police officers are permitted to use force where necessary to carry out their duties. However, such force must always be in proportion to the circumstances. In other words, if police officers use unnecessarily excessive force when executing their duties, they may be found guilty of assault – a criminal offense in South Africa.
Where a police officer has made an arrest and it is later found that the person was wrongfully and unlawfully arrested and detained, this person may lay a claim for damages related to the arrest against the South African Minister of Police.
The same applies when the wrong person was arrested or detained without probable cause that they have in fact committed the crime they are being arrested and detained for.
Any person who is subjected to excessive police force, wrongful or unlawful arrest and detention may be entitled to claim against the Minister of Police for loss or damages caused.
Incidents of police brutality and unlawful arrest and detention are on the rise.
It’s important for South African citizens to know their rights, and to rely on the fact that police officers can and should be brought to book when acting unlawfully and exploiting their positions of authority.
If you have been a victim of unlawful arrest or police brutality, please feel free to contact our attorneys in Cape Town and Johannesburg for expert legal advice.
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