According to the SAPS a Community Police Forum is regulated by Section 18 of the South African Police Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995) Interim Regulations for Community Police Forums and Boards (Section 3 regulates the establishment of a Community Police Sub-Forum).

1 – The difference between Reservists and Patrol Groups


  • Appointed under the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995) , Section 48
  • Has the same powers as a police member (e.g. Arrests, investigate)
  • Receive training in: firearms, legal aspects, basic police functions and procedures, etc.

Patrol Groups

  • Affiliated to the sector Community Police Sub-Forum
  • Limited powers e.g. Citizens arrest
  • Limited training (e.g. Basic knowledge of the laws, crime scene management, first aid, etc)

2 – Operational functions of the Community Safety Structures

  • Eyes and ears of the SAPS
  • If the need arises, carry out a citizen’s arrest in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 68 of 1977), section 42
  • Performing patrol duties that will serve as a crime deterrent
  • Preserving crime scenes when first on the scene
  • Facilitating good relations in the neighbourhood
  • Rendering a voluntary service
  • Reporting crime and crime in progress to the SAPS
  • Creating crime prevention awareness amongst the community

3 – Limitations on the powers of the Community Safety Structures

  • No promoting of political agendas/ interests
  • No promoting, marketing or selling of security equipment/ services
  • Cannot request or enforce registration/ membership fees
  • Cannot act as a police official
  • Cannot participate in crime prevention operations with the SAPS (e.g. “Stop and search”, roadblocks, etc)
  • Cannot wear or use the SAPS insignia in any way on a person or private vehicle
  • May not use any rotating/reflecting light of any colour on a private vehicle for the purpose of visibility during patrols
  • A community police forum, sub-forum or board has no power of command and control over the Service or any member thereof:

No member of such a forum or board may:

o Wear any insignia or identification mark in respect of any political party, organization, movement or body while attending a meeting of a CPF, sub-forum or boardo Utilize his or her membership of a CPF, sub-forum or board for political interests

  • Not entitled to have access to police registers or files without approval
  • May only use property belonging to or under the control of the Service with the prior written approval
  • The Service is not obliged to provide office accommodation
  • No equipment or SAPS store items may be issued to a member of a Community Police Forum, Sub- Forum or Board
  • No such member may be allowed to utilize a police vehicle
  • May not establish itself as a section 21 company

For more information on sector policing, go to the SAPS website

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