Police Minister instructed to ensure cops can defend themselves

SEPTEMBER 7, 2015

Just days after the latest attack on police officers in Port Elizabeth, President Jacob Zuma has directed Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko to do everything possible to provide the police with tools they need to fight criminals more effectively.

About 58 police officers have so far been killed across the country since January this year. Between April 2014 and March this year a total 63 officers lost their lives.

In July, a policeman was gunned down in New Brighton, PE; while in August, a policeman was wounded in a shoot-out with the gang of robbers in KwaDwesi

The President also said that communities can help to stop the killings.

“The fight against crime requires the participation of all South Africans. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to call upon all South Africans to work with the police to create safer communities,” he said on Sunday, while speaking at the South African Police Service (SAPS) Commemoration Day at the Union Buildings.

The ceremony was attended by the families and relatives of the slain police officers.

President Zuma said that criminals who do not hesitate to take the life of another human being whether they be civilians or police officers should not be protected by communities.

“The criminals who terrorise communities and who kill our police officers as well as live in our communities and are known by many within communities. They must not be protected, they must be reported to the police so that they can face the full might of the law,” he said.

“The callous murder of your loved ones was an attack not only on them, but on the state itself,” he said as the country marks not only Heritage and Tourism month but also Police Safety Month.

President Zuma said a National Tactical Response Plan has been developed to immediately respond to the murders of police officers.

In addition to the plan, station and relief commanders have been instructed to ensure compliance with the Directives and Standing Orders of the SAPS. The inspection of members to ensure that they are poperly equipped with the necessary safety gear and equipment and the conducting of regular visits to operational members during the performance of their duties are among some of the issues requiring compliance.

The President also noted that police officers do their work under difficult conditions. The country’s violent history as a result of apartheid has also created fertile ground for violent crime.

Also speaking at the commemorative ceremony, Minister Nhleko said that the attacks on police officers is on the rise.

“Many women and men in blue are the first and last line of citizen’s defence against crime. We are beginning to see a pattern that shows an increase in police killings… what this says is that this should galvanise our resolve in the fight against crime,” said the Minister.

SAPS  is currently at work to ensure that the safety of officers is elevated  by putting in place a National Police Safety Plan, which among others prioritises physical security and trauma management and social support mechanisms.

The management of SAPS has also instructed that multi-disciplinary assessment teams be establishes at provinces and divisions to conduct on-site assessments of all incidents where police officers were killed.

-additional reporting SAnews.gov.za