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Variants of SAP Officers ranks '60s to '95

South African Police (1913-1994)
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Variants of SAP Officers ranks '60s to '95

Postby steven seymour » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:54 am

I thought I would add a topic that shows the variants that existed with the male officer shoulder ranks from the 1960s up to 1995, when the SAP was amalgamated into the current SAPS.

There are three MAIN TYPES / colour shoulder boards of officer ranks:
1. Blue - worn on regular police uniform and blue field dress uniform.
2. Purple - worn by Chaplains on regular uniform or filed dress.
3. Camouflage - worn on camo uniform by members deployed on border / riot duties, the ISU (Internal Stability Unit) -once it was established and the STF(Special Task Force)

Before the late 1970s, officers wore their rank 'pips' directly onto the epaulette of the uniform. As far as I have been able to narrow down, the Blue shoulder boards were introduced sometime between April 1977 and August 1978.... the light blue 'office dress' shirt was not introduced until the early 80s, so the tunic jacket was worn in the winter months, and the short sleeved 'safari suite' was worn in the summer months.

The blue Field dress rank was introduced at the same time as the light blue 'office shirt' - as I mentioned earlier, this was in the early 1980s.
(I have added a photo of a Colonel rank 'board' and a Lieutenant Generals Field dress rank to illustrate)

The Chaplains used the same rank insignia as the regular police officers, but on a Purple background, the introduction of which was identical to that which I have indicated under the Blue rank boards. I have seen a Chaplain wear his purple field dress rank on the SAP Camouflage uniform, but this was a very rare occurrence!
(Again, I have added a photo of the Chaplains (Brigadier) rank board, and the Chaplain (Major) field dress rank)

The Camouflage SAP uniform (of which there were 2 main patterns) was introduced in the 1960s and was worn extensively during Border duties and Riot control up to 1994, when only the STF were allowed to continue to wear the camo uniform (The ISU had to convert to the dark blue 'Nutria' prior to the 1994 elections).

From the 60s and into the late 70s/early 80s, officers wore a 'padded' embroided rank emblem that had to be sewn onto the epaulette, or as many did, a piece of camo material was obtained and a 'slip on' rank was made. This continued until the early 80s (about 1984), when a 'one piece' rank was made.... at first the rank star/castle was embroided in light cream (often referred to as 'white'), and then in the late 80s to early 90s, the rank emblem was embroided in yellow cotton. (the attached photo shows the difference clearly.

*I shall do a separate post regarding the GREEN shoulder boards often seen worn by ISU members in the late 80s up to April 1994.
Attachments
Officers blue.jpg
Officers blue.jpg (195.91 KiB) Viewed 954 times
Chaplains.jpg
Chaplains.jpg (190.58 KiB) Viewed 954 times
ISU camo ranks.jpg
ISU camo ranks.jpg (153.4 KiB) Viewed 954 times
Steven
A 20 year veteran..... hoping to survive the next 22 years!!

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Re: Variants of SAP Officers ranks '60s to '95

Postby steven seymour » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:09 pm

Now to discuss one of the 'qwerks' that came up with Officers ranks in the SAP.....

Many have either seen for themselves, or encountered photographs of officers in SAP Camouflage, wearing what appears to be GREEN shoulder boards... this was a very common practice in the late 80s and early 90s, but interestingly enough, it was never intended to be officially issued as such, but the practice was tolerated none-the-less.

The shoulder boards used were in fact officers shoulder boards that were made and issued to the former KWAZULU POLICE,. but at some point (no one really know how it got started!!), some of the ISU HEAD OFFICE officers started to wear the boards with metal rank pips on their camo uniforms.... needless to say that the practice soon spread to office staff and commanders of the various ISU units. Although they were never officially designed or issued to ISU members, the wearing of the green shoulder boards was tolerated, as were certain other more "practical" innovations (One such innovation was the camo skirts that were privately manufactured by the female members at ISU Head Office (about 1990/91)... No skirt was ever officially issued, but the ladies obtained the material from the suppliers and applied for permission to make and wear the skirts in the office environment - which was granted!)

Attached is a photo of one of these green shoulder boards, as worn by a former member (and friend of mine) who was stationed at ISU Head Office from 1988 until 1992.
Attachments
ISU office.jpg
ISU office.jpg (211.52 KiB) Viewed 953 times
Steven
A 20 year veteran..... hoping to survive the next 22 years!!

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