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'There must be a memorandum of understanding with the police'

The HRC says there must be a memorandum of understanding with the police, to avoid incidents of violence.

FILE:  A dialogue on human rights and policing is taking place in Johannesburg today to contribute towards building a South African consensus on the issue. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says there must be a memorandum of understanding with the police to avoid incidents of violence and torture within the policing culture.

A dialogue on human rights and policing is taking place in Johannesburg today to contribute towards building a South African consensus on the issue.

The commission says a new policy framework for policing is currently before Parliament and seeks to address the deficits in the current legal framework but there are issues that are still under-developed.

Human rights Commissioner Danny Titus says they've held several meetings with top police officials and it appears there isn't a general understanding of how they work.

He says the police believe there's too much of a blame game when it comes to how officers conduct themselves on the ground.

"We must try and find a route where we can work together. We must find a way where we can, as the deputy commissioner indicated, that they are not on another planet. They are our police. We must take responsibility for them. We must take responsibility for our human rights, for our Constitution."

Titus says there's also a culture of lawlessness in the country - and often the police have to react to this when trying to restore calm to a situation.

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