Police minister Bheki Cele is the master of deflection. His latest monomania to that end is that police officers may not have tattoos — or visible ones, at least — because these are the markings of gangsters, criminals and drug addicts.

Given the magnitude of problems facing the police service, the minister’s fixation on body art speaks volumes: it’s all bombast, carries little substance or thought and has no bearing on the kind of policy interventions that would improve the state of a police force in crisis. ..

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