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Crossing the Line: When Cops Become Criminals

Criminologist Liza Grobler discusses her book ‘Crossing the Line’, about police officers who become criminals. Camera: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Darlene Creamer. Recorded: 07/08/2013.

13th August 2013


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Crossing the Line is a book of great significance in South Africa today: it is an in-depth examination of police corruption and crime in the country, and hopes to remove the topic from academia and place it in the general public domain.

The topic is, of course, highly relevant and corruption processes need to be understood by the man on the street because, after all, it affects all citizens. The book includes a brief focus on three international policing agencies: The New South Wales Police Force, London’s Metropolitan Police and the New York Police Departments Internal Affairs Bureau. It then moves on to the South African Police Service.


Highlighted is the vast array of crimes committed by members of the SAPS – ranging from bribery and corruption to police brutality, robbery, rape and murder – and includes corrupt officers’ symbiotic relationships with gangs and syndicates. Information has been provided by SAPS interviewees as well as specialists in the field of policing and police criminality. The interviews are backed up by media and literature illustrations, and invaluable input on the topic is provided by police offenders, all of whom were incarcerated when the interviews were done.

However, the book does not focus only on the types of crimes committed by members of the SAPS, it also looks at the risk factors – both individual and organisational – that contribute to this phenomenon, and the subject of what to do about police crime and corruption in terms of appropriate interventions is also explored at length.


About the author:
Liza Grobler has an honours, master’s and doctorate in Criminology – the latter awarded in 2006. She is currently involved with the Department of Correctional Services doing criminological risk assessments of selected potential parolees for parole boards, and also consults with offenders on parole.

Published by Jacana Media


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