The African Policing and Civilian Oversight Forum is a network of African policing practitioners from state and non-state institutions. We promote democratic policing through strengthening civilian oversight over the police in Africa. APCOF undertakes research, provides technical support to state and non-state actors including civil society organisations, the police and new and emerging oversight bodies in Africa.

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Policing News

Malawi: Journalist beaten up by the Police

21 October 

The Malawian Police allegedly arrested and assaulted a Times Group journalist, Archibald Kasakura. It is reported that this...

DRC: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner expelled in Congo

20 October 2014 

United Nations  Ban Ki – Moon has condemned the Republic of Congo for expelling the...

Kenya: Police Officers summoned for shooting and killing a child

10 October 2014 

The Kenyan High Court has summoned two police officers for allegedly shooting and killing a 14 year...

South Africa: Criminals Allegedly abuses in a police station

08 October 2014 

The South African Human Rights Commission has released a statement stating that allegedly suspects held at Maake...



10 Dec

Brazil and South African based think tanks testing new open source body camera with police in Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town

Police forces around the world are experimenting with new technologies. In North America, highly publicized instances of the excessive use of force is forcing some game changing innovations. In the wake of police violence in Ferguson, US President Obama this week announced an executive action to equip 50,000 police with body cameras, requesting $267 million to move the process forward. Meanwhile, in Western Europe police forces are also beginning to adopt similar solutions, drawing on private firms specializing in such tools. For the most part, these cop cameras are only being advanced in developed countries.

Since 2013, the Igarapé Institute has been developing and testing body cameras with police forces in Brazil and South Africa as part of its smart policing initiative. In partnership with Google Ideas and the African Civilian Police Oversight Forum (APCOF), the Igarapé Institute has designed an open-source app called copcast that allows police users to securely record video, audio and GPS recordings. The Institute is testing the app in Rio de Janeiro, but also in Cape Town and soon in Johannesburg with military police, traffic police, firemen and neighborhood watch groups. The piloting will continue in 2015 and 2016.   

Smart policing is a solution designed in the South but with global application. "Copcast represents a major step forward because it is open source code and adaptability to many complex policing environments", says the Igarapé Institute´s Robert Muggah. Data is securely stored in the cloud for up to 90 days and can be viewed only by selected senior personnel. The app also includes a real-time function allowing police chiefs to see where their officers are at any given time. The goal of the app is to reduce the likelihood of the excessive use of force, protect police officers from false accusations, and empower citizens who mistrust law enforcement officials. 

The copcast app has started getting some international visibility. In October 2013, the Institute was invited to present the solution at a Google Summit. In March 2014, smart policing was singled out for a New Digital Age grant, one of just two organizations to receive this award outside of North America. In September, Ericcson also selected Igarapé Institute for one of its Networked Society prizes. Meanwhile, the smart policing project has been featured by the BBC, Los Angeles Times, and local Brazilian news outlets as a possible means to improve accountability and oversight over law enforcement. 
For more background information on smart policing, see the Igarapé Institute opinion editorials in the Los Angeles Times and Open Democracy. Also visit the dedicated smart policing website where there is more information about the solution as well as research on how it works.
For interviews or background information on smart policing, please contact alice@igaraqe.org.br


12 Nov

Police and Human Rights in Africa

For the latest edition of the Police and Human Rights in Africa Newsletter, please follow the link. 



05 Nov

Gendering Police Accountability: The Role of the Police Portfolio Committee in monitoring compliance with the Domestic Violence Act

Lisa Vetten's paper on the role of the Portfolio Committee in monitoring compliance with the Domestic Violence Act, to access the paper please follow the link