Pretoria : 31 July 2015 – The South African Police Service (SAPS) management is appalled by the unabated callous murder of our police officers following the killing of yet another police officer, a 34 year old constable, in Jeppestown, Gauteng, this morning.
So far this year, 53 police officers have been killed, of which four have met their untimely death this week alone. Of these, 25 officers were killed on duty and 28 were killed off duty. This is six more than last year for same period.
While the SAPS acknowledges the fact that policing is, by its very nature, a high risk occupation and that our members are exposed to dangerous situations and criminals, joining the police service should not be equal to signing a death warrant. The police are here to serve and protect and these attacks are as a direct result of our zero tolerance approach to criminality. We will not relent and we will ensure that our colleagues’ deaths are not in vain by bringing those responsible to book.
Our men and women in blue are constantly reminded, through various means of communication, of the safety precautions that they learned during training and which they must continuously employ. They are also advised to treat every situation as a life-threatening one, but in many instances criminals lay in ambush for our members and this is most difficult to prevent.
“While the SAPS management is doing all that it can for the safety and wellbeing of its members, personal safety is mostly controlled by the individuals and secondly by working closely and well with colleagues,” said General Phiyega.
“The use of police radios, giving each other backup, being aware of one’s surroundings, regularly checking that all the tools issued are in good working order and are used when circumstance dictate, in addition to the several other safety measures that are put in place, will go a long way in saving lives,” added General Phiyega.
For its part, the SAPS is prioritising investigations into the killings of police officers to ensure that sentences handed down serve as deterrents and we are continuously assessing the circumstance under which members have been killed in order to sensitise employees to take preventative measures.
The National Commissioner has praised our members for the speedy arrest of the suspect in the killing of our member in Themba yesterday as well as the arrest of the 5 suspects for the killing of the constable this morning. Thus far, since 1 April 2015 a further 14 suspects have been arrested for the murder of police officers.
The SAPS believes that a louder condemnation of this kind of criminality by society, the media and opinion leaders, will send out a strong message and will let police officers know that the population at large is fully behind them.