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O’Sullivan’s arrest raises concerns over public trust in police

The police arrested private investigator Paul O’Sullivan in Centurion on Monday, despite a court order compelling officers to give him 48 hours’ notice.

Private investigator Paul O'Sullivan. Picture: Paul O'Sullivan & Associates/Facebook.com

PRETORIA – Concerns have been raised about the negative perception created of the police and how it undermines public trust, following the high-profile arrest of private investigator Paul O’Sullivan.

The police arrested O’Sullivan in Centurion on Monday, despite a court order compelling officers to give him 48 hours’ notice to present himself at a police station if he is to be arrested.

The High Court in Pretoria ordered the private investigator’s immediate release on Monday night, when the judge affirmed the legitimacy of the court order.

The Institute for Security Studies’ Gareth Newham says he doesn’t believe that the police officers involved in the investigator's arrest did not understand the court order.

“They do understand the law, and what should be very clear to them is that the fact that they need to uphold the law – and to be seen to be upholding the law – should be at the foremost of their minds if they want to build public trust in the police and ensure that the public rally around.”

The South African Policing Union says the perception that the police may be used for personal agendas is not good for the image of the service.

The union adds that it will be an embarrassment for the police if it eventually emerges that they are disregarding the law they are supposed to uphold.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)