The hidden cost of crime: R3.5 billion for the SA police per year – for science


  • The South African Police Service receives R3.5 billion per year for science and technological activities. 
  • The allocation is higher than that of health, new figures show.
  • It is not clear just how the police spend that money, or whether it was worth it.

Crime-fighting science gets more money than science activities in the department of health in South Africa, according the latest Survey on Government Funding for Scientific and Technological Activities for 2016-17.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) received R3.49-billion in 2016-17 – accounting for 15% of government’s total spend on science and technology.

This funding, according to the survey, goes towards information and communication technologies (ICT) for detective and forensic services, among other infrastructure.

“Forensic services provide specialised evidence-related technical analysis and support to investigations,” it says.

The only government department which receives more than the police for science is the department of science and technology – which exists to promote and fund science in the country. It received R7.4-billion.


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