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Synopsis

Every South African has a strong opinion on crime and policing, but most know very little about the lives and experiences of the average cop in the 185 000-strong South African Police Service. This book is composed of excerpts from interviews with current and former members of the service who, for the first time, share their personal experiences of life behind the badge. The book covers a wide range of themes, including reasons for signing up, training, policing under apartheid and transformation after 1994. It describes the experience of solving cases, using lethal force, being shot at and losing colleagues. Policemen and -women speak frankly about the psychological toll of police work and the impact on their family lives, and give startling insights into ethics, torture, corruption, sex and power. There is a mantra among police: ‘What happens on the shift stays on the shift.’ In Behind the Badge, members break through this wall of silence and reveal the hidden life of the police.

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