Police resource allocation questioned at international conference

The CSPRI presentation "Toward the rational allocation of policing resources" builds on work done for the Khayelitsha Commission and presents new data analysing the situation in KwaZulu-Natal.

While the work done for the Khayelitsha Commission by CSPRI researcher Jean Redpath showed large disparities in resource allocation in the Western Cape, with poor peri-urban township areas showing the fewest police officers per 100 000 population in the whole province, the situation in KwaZulu-Natal is subtly different.

Data on police resources in KwaZulu-Natal was obtained through the efforts of the Natal Witness and shared with Ndifuna Ukwazi and CSPRI. Calculations carried out with KwaZulu-Natal data show that llocations per 100 000 in KwaZulu-Natal are generally lower than in the Western Cape. Furthermore, the least resourced policing areas are very poor rural traditional areas with large populations. For example, Intsikeni in KwaZulu-Natal has an allocation of only 43 police for an approximate population of 75 000 people. 

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks, a researcher at the Centre for Law and Society who has done extensive work in traditional areas, was asked to comment on the findings. "These findings support my findings that the traditional authorities are left (by implication, required) to bear the brunt of policing and management of crime there, which they do not have the capacity, resources or training to do effectively."

CSPRI researcher Jean Redpath argued that the failure to take disparities in the under-reporting of crime, and the rapid population increases in some areas, have contributed to the disparities. She argued for a reassment of allocations combined with more flexibility in the command structure of police stations.

Her presentation at the 6th international conference: National and international perspectives on crime, violence reduction and criminal justice, which was hosted by the Institute for Security Studies, in Sandton, on 15 and 16 October 2015, is based on her joint article in a special edition of Crime Quarterly. 

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