About the South African

Police Service (SAPS)

The South African Police Service was established in 1995. The power of the SAPS is contained in the Constitution of South Africa and the 1995 South African Police Services Act.

When read together, they give the police the power to:

  • prevent, combat and investigate crime;

  • maintain public order;

  • protect and secure people who live in South Africa, and protect and secure their property; and

  • uphold and enforce the law.

Importantly, the police are required to uphold and enforce the law.

This means that all police actions must be lawful and not discriminate against any person for any reason. If the police break the law, they should be subject to disciplinary action or criminal charges.

The vision and mission of the SAPS speak to its function, not only to detect and investigate crime, but to play a role in crime prevention and community safety. The service strives to:

  • create a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa;

  • prevent and investigate anything that may threaten the safety or security of any community;

  • ensure that criminals are brought to justice; and

  • participate in efforts to address the causes of crime.