Police minister Bheki Cele, with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (Ipid) executive director Jennifer Ntlatseng, has launched a new Ipid toll-free number that aims to centralise the directorate’s communication system, to ensure that all South African residents have maximum and free access to its service. The public can now lodge complaints on 0800 111 969, country-wide. Speaking at the launch today, Cele reminded attendees that Ipid’s mandate is to conduct independent and impartial investigations of criminal offences allegedly committed by members of the South African Police Service and the municipal police. “The bottom line is that the Ipid keeps the police in check at all times.” In line with this mandate, said Cele, Ipid has brought, and continues to bring to book criminals, officers implicated in alleged corruption, and those who violate their constitutional duties. “Police misconduct, whether alleged or proven, has a negative impact on our society. Any transgression committed by an officer of the law erodes the trust and confidence communities have towards the police,” Cele said. With the ever-increasing reports of police corruption, abuse of power, little or no interest in rendering assistance, and other crimes and misdemeanours on the part of those who have sworn to serve and protect, it is vital that communities have easy access to Ipid’s investigational and enforcement services. In this way people will be able to swiftly and accurately lodge complaints, and lack of access or resources will no longer be a factor in reporting alleged police misconduct. “I believe the launch of this hotline number brings the Ipid one step closer in better positioning itself, as an effective and impartial oversight body of the police.” The toll-free number, Cele added, is a “bold move” and a crucial part of promoting and maintaining excellence and integrity within the police force. He urged everyone to use the number wisely and responsibly, and to: Report officers that sleep on duty.Report officers that turn away victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence at police stations.Report officers that abuse state resources and state vehicles.Report officers that harass and intimidate citizens.Report officers who aid in the sale of drugs and protect drug dealers.Report all forms of corruption by officers. Cele concluded by saying that the quality of Ipid investigations is crucial in ensuring police accountability for any wrongdoing and equally, complainants must receive consistent quality service from the directorate.