The South African Police is one of the world's most controversial police forces. In this, the first detailed study of the origins and development of policing in South Africa, John Brewer places current allegations of police misconduct in their historical context. Long after similar forces elsewhere in the world had been modernized, the South African Police were continuing to discharge a colonial role, using the methods and style of the nineteenth century. Dr Brewer links this lack of development and modernization to the South African state's need forcolonialism. It is this, he argues, that is also the source of the close relationship between police and state in South Africa. Now that government policies have changed, the SAP must adapt: Dr Brewer ends by addressing the vexed question of police reform and argues that it will be severely constrained by the SAP's failure to transcend its colonial origins.