In order to understand the attitudes towards police work and the actions of police officers one can make use of the Structure-agency debate which has three distinct perspectives; structure, agency and structuration. This essay shall argue which position is best to apply by drawing on sociological theories and concepts.
As stated by Abercrombie (in Van Huyssteen, 2003: 228) the Structure-agency debate refers to “what extent individuals are the product of social structures, and to what extent can they act upon those social structures.” Social structures are frameworks within society that influence the way in which we behave such as the education, family, race, and rules. (Kendall, 2013, p. ...view middle of the document...
Makaye believed in the power and respect that policemen should have and deserve. He was looking forward to receiving such power and respect; which he did not receive. One can conclude this by his words “no one fears the police in South Africa because we have no power anymore. Criminals get everything, but government has treated us the police, with no respect” (Altbeker 2005, p. 200). After apartheid had come to an end he thought that black police officers would be promoted to higher positions that were previously not given to them due to the “races recruitment and promotion polices” of the past, but as he says “they were still doing the grunt work on the organization’s frontlines: work such as serving warrants.” (Altbeker 2005, p. 209)
As stated above detective Fats also has an attitude of negativity towards his work and the role he plays in his unit. He too acknowledges this attitude in verbalizing “we are very negative” (Altbeker 2005, p. 210).
His attitude of frustration, is expressed as he states how policemen are labeled by society as “corrupt and dogs”. He disagrees with the word corrupt ‘I don’t say they are corrupt, because the word blames policemen and deducts that there is something wrong with them.’ Social structures have lead and formed the social identity of policemen as immoral which according to Fats isn’t always the case; “corruption never happens around me” (Altbeker 2005, p. 209-210).
This popularized outlook of detectives in South Africa creates an attitude of demotivation; in police officers such as Inspector Makaye for the reason that they don’t receive “recognition for their efforts in the fight against crime” (Altbeker 2005, p. 204). In addition police men and women play a huge role and spend time to ensure the public’s safety, only to find out their efforts and time were wasted as charges are opened then withdrawn. The fact that Makaye has worked for the police service for almost thirty years with a salary of R8000 is also demotivating (Altbeker 2005, p. 206-207).
As evident in the words of Altbeker (2005, p. 203) which are used to describe the work the Makaye and his men had ahead of them; “dreary and frustrating” proves that the actions Makaye engages in do reflect the four attitudes described above. As leader in his department he and his team need to carry through the following; all-nighter operations, serve warrants, make arrests, go to crime scenes and attend...