In a letter directed by the National Commissioner of the South African Police to all police officers and members of municipal police services, the use of arrest as a means of bringing alleged offenders before court and the use of force in the process was dealt with in great detail.
In summary, it was emphasised that an arrest should only be effected in order to bring an alleged offender before court if other means such as a warning to appear or summons is not a suitable process. It is underlined that under no circumstances a person should be arrested in order to punish, scare or harass such person to teach him/her a lesson. It is further emphasised that only the minimum force necessary may be used in the exceptional circumstances where a person to be arrested, resist such arrest. A police member who uses force for any other purpose, such as to punish or to teach the suspect a lesson, makes himself/herself guilty of an offence such as assault or attempted murder. The full letter is available here. Members of the public subjected to arrest or police brutality are welcome to call our 24-hour number, 011 838 1214 for assistance.