Uniforms, plastic cops and the madness of 'Superman': an exploration of the dynamics shaping the policing of gangs in Cape Town

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2009

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South African Journal of Criminal Justice

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University of Cape Town

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Abstract
Gangs have long been a feature of the social landscape of the City of Cape Town and its environment. They have endured the heaves and sighs of change which have accompanied South Africa's social and political transformation. Whilst local scholarship on gangs is well-established, the complex dynamics accompanying the actual policing of gangs have received relatively little attention. By drawing on a series of in-depth interviews with members of the police organisation and on a small sample of interviews with gang leaders, this article begins to explore selected aspects of the policies and practices associated with the policing of gangs in Cape Town. Central to this exploration is the argument that a wide range of factors influences the operational strategies vis-á-vis gangs including that of the institutional culture of the police itself.
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