Ghost Squad, noun phrase

Forms:
Also with small initials.
Origin:
Perhaps so called because members would sometimes operate in plain clothes, thus being, metaphorically, invisible beings which became policemen when necessary.
historical
A name for that branch of the police whose duty it was to check whether black people were carrying passes. Also attributive. See also pass sense 3.
1963 L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 81Ghost Squad police who had attended the session in plain clothes called out the flying squad.
1971 Post 1 Aug.His blue-eyed soul brother..is a member of the ‘ghost squad’ — the chaps who trudge Johannesburg streets demanding passes.
1986 Drum Aug. 55The interview..had to do with the increasing raids on blacks who happened to get caught by the so-called Ghost Squad in the city for failing to produce reference books.
1993 O. Musi in City Press 12 Dec. 23Remember the past brainwave of the ‘Ghost Squad’ whose job was to stop us for pass offences..until they started getting into trouble because some tsotsis would pose as cops and harass law-abiding citizens.
A name for that branch of the police whose duty it was to check whether black people were carrying passes. Also attributive.

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19631993