South African Police decorations

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An overview of South African police decorations and medals, which form part of the South African honours system.

South African Police[edit]

The South African Police was established in 1913 as a national police force. It had a secondary military role, which came to the fore in World War I and again in World War II.


The SAP was eligible for the British King's Police Medal, which was awarded annually throughout the British Empire. This was discontinued in 1933, because South Africa had become independent as a member of the new British Commonwealth, and it was replaced in 1937 by a special South African issue of the medal. From 1923, the SAP also had its own long service medal, which doubled as a medal for gallantry. The medals available to the SAP between 1923 and 1963 were thus:


Campaign medal[edit]

Long service medal[edit]

  • Police Good Service Medal (1923-63)

Until 1952, they were incorporated into the British honours system. Thereafter they formed part of the new South African honours system.


After South Africa became a republic (in 1961), the government instituted an entirely new series of decorations and medals for the SAP. It was added to several times over the years:



Campaign medal[edit]

Commemorative medals[edit]

Long service medals[edit]

In 1994, the SAP amalgamated with the police forces of the former "homelands" inside South Africa, to form the South African Police Service.

South African Railways Police[edit]


The South African Railways Police was established in 1934, to police the country's railways and harbours. It was later responsible for air services too. The SARP was modeled on the SAP, and shared the King's/Queen's Police Medal with it. It also had its own long service medal: the Railways Police Good Service Medal (1934-66).


An entirely new series of decorations and medals was instituted for the SARP in 1966, to match those established for the SAP in 1963. The series was enlarged in 1980, to correspond to the changes made to the SAP awards in 1979. The full range of honours was:



Campaign medal[edit]

Long service medals[edit]

The SARP was incorporated into the SA Police in 1986.

South African Police Service[edit]

The South African Police Service, which was formed in 1994 by amalgamating the SAP and the police forces of the former homelands, used the SAP decorations and medals until 2004, when a new series of decorations was instituted:

South African Police Service medal ribbons since 2004.svg


Commemorative medal[edit]

Ten Year Commemoration Medal

Long service medals[edit]

Animal decoration[edit]

Municipal/Metropolitan Police Service[edit]

In 1998, the municipal and metropolitan council police forces were brought under the auspices of the SA Police Service Act, and became collectively known as the Municipal/Metropolitan Police Service. A series of decorations and medals was instituted for them in 2008.



Commemorative Medal[edit]

Long service medals[edit]

Animal decoration[edit]


  1. ^ 2nd Type (1979-86)
  2. ^ 1st Type (1963-89)
  3. ^ 2nd Type (1989-2004)
  4. ^ 1st Type


  • Alexander, E.G.M.; Barron, G.K.B.; Bateman, A.J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau. 
  • Monick, S. (1988). Awards of the South African Uniformed Public Services 1912-1987. South African National Museum of Military History. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]