Book Review – Applied Law for Police Officials

Feb 18, 2019 | 2019, Book Review, News

(5th Edition)

by Cerita Joubert (603 pages)
Juta & Co (Pty) Ltd

Applied Law for Police Officials“Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner.”– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

According to the South African Constitution, police officials are responsible for upholding and enforcing the law. This means that all police officials must know, understand and be able to apply South African law in order to perform their duties deligently, and to exercise their powers lawfully.

The fifth edition of this comprehensive book is undoubtedly a valuable tool for not only members of the South African Police Service, but also citizens and organisations involved in the prevention and prosecution of crime.

The author sets the context:

“Civilisation is dependant on order. A civilised society therefore needs a legal system to persuade everyone to act in an acceptable manner that will ensure that order prevails. ‘The law’ is at the heart of the legal system. Anyone who disobeys the law will face consequences or some form of punishment.”

The 20 chapters of this edition deal clearly and logically with policing powers and responsibilities, criminal prosecution, offences against person and property, the criminal justice process, arrest, detention and the use of force, bail, the law of evidence and numerous other key elements of policing. The book has been updated with the latest case law. New topics introduced and explained include essential infrastructure-related offences, organised crime, human trafficking and cyber crime.

Each chapter includes a list of additional references for more detailed information and commentary. Relevant statutes and case law are tabled, footnotes provide sources for the text, and pertinent extracts from the Criminal Procedure Act and the Child Justice Act are set out.

Author Cerita Joubert B Iur LLB (Unisa) LLM (Leiden) ND Pol Admin (TSA) is an Advocate and former member of the SAPS. Her practical, academic, and professional experience in establishing and developing each successive edition of this book, with the guidance and expertise of publisher Juta, whose support she generously acknowledges, has produced a coherent and skillfully organised resource that is accessible, readable, helpful and reliable. It ticks all the boxes of a practical tool kit for law enforcement professionals.

The format employed, with sub-paragraphs, highlights, emphasising italics, and boxed summaries of essential elements, all contribute to facilitating immediate hands-on information for hard-pressed police officials on duty.

In the jaunty musical The Pirates of Penzance (1879), W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) wrote:

“When constabulary duty’s to be done,
A policeman’s lot is not a happy one.”

With this book, that burdensome task has been made a lot lighter.

Review by Louis Rood BA LLB (UCT), Consultant at Fairbridges Wertheim Becker Attorneys.