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The hexagon, either in combination with the five-pointed star or as an entity on its own, is used as rank insignia by the South African Police Service. The sides and points of the hexagon symbolize the six cornerstones which are the essence of the nature of the service the South African Police Service must render. It forms the acronym "POLICE".


The South African Police Service is a people-oriented service. It is a service for the community by the community with the emphasis on the fundamental rights of all the peoples of South Africa. The rationale is based on the needs of people and the flexibility of policing, which is the basis for community policing. It involves a consultative approach in which the community is the key stakeholder. This approach gives rise to the need for mechanisms such as Community Police Forums and other civilian involvement in policing matters.


Public order is one of the most basic human needs. Historically this specific need gave rise to the establishment of the policing concept by mankind. The most important function of any policing agency is to maintain public order and stability. The South African Police Service is no exception to this rule. The effective maintenance of order and stability is the key to the success of the entire South African society.


Every society needs rules in order to ensure an orderly environment in which to live. These rules are manifested in laws that have to be maintained principally by the police. The Constitution is the highest law in South Africa and provides the fundamental legal framework within which the South African Police Service must operate. No one is above the law and the police have to act against every offender. They must, however, act in a discrete and responsible manner in order to ensure that they themselves do not become offenders.


The South African Police Service is bound to provide an impartial, professional policing service to all the people of South Africa. The South African Police Service operates as an arm of the government of the day, with the powers which, through the democratic process, are allocated to it by the citizenry. The police are, therefore, not the servants of any particular political party or group.


The South African Police Service is the main stakeholder as far as the prevention of crime is concerned. It is, however, not the only responsible party and needs the co-operation of other State Institutions and society as a whole. The police cannot control all the socio-economic factors that are conducive to crime. The investigation of crime is a very important policing function and plays an essential role in the system of criminal justice. The South African Police Service is bound to do everything humanly possible, within the parameters of the law, to prevent and solve crime.


The bottom line is that the South African Police Service is responsible for creating a safe and secure environment in South Africa. A safe and secure environment does not only benefit basic activities such as education, health care and social development, but also promotes international investment and tourism, which benefits the country as a whole.