The South African government requires all departments to establish and track indicators of performance and service delivery, and the South African Police Service has been highly innovative in this area. Public obsession with recorded crime statistics has, unfortunately, resulted in these figures being seen by many as the primary police performance indicator. This paper argues that recorded crime levels do not reflect the real crime situation and may, in fact, increase due to good police work. In addition, there is little evidence that the work the police are trained to do has any impact on the incidence of crime. It is therefore necessary that alternative indicators be developed and publicised that are reflective of what the police actually do; are within their direct control; take into account their capacity and workload; are simple to collect and understand; and promote socially desirable behaviour.
About the author
Ted Leggett works as a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Crime and Justice Programme. His professional background includes police work, prosecution, and social work. He holds the degrees of Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law and Master of Social Science in Development Studies from the University of Natal, Durban.