Police killings: Minister and Commissioner must act now!

By Kate Lorimer MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety:

The following speech was delivered by Kate Lorimer MPL during a march on the Johanensburg Central Police Station in solidarity with families, and loved ones of police officials who have been killed by criminals

We stand together here today to give our support to the families, friends and colleagues of the police officers who have been killed by criminals.

57 police officers have been killed this year alone. It is enough!

As communities we must take a stand against crime and criminals, and we must take a stand against police killings.

The men and women of the SAPS put their lives on the line for us every day in order to patrol our streets and keep us safe.

They do a job many of us would never want to do.  We must ensure that they are as safe as they can possibly be.

As the DA, we believe there are a number of interventions which need to be made to reduce the vulnerability of police officers to attack.

These interventions must focus on the under-resourcing, training and intelligence problems faced by officers.

The Institute of Security Studies has stated that training of police is inadequate, there is poor managerial supervision and there are not enough bullet-proof vests.

These all lead to officers not always following procedure and not being as safety conscious as they need to be.

A lack of credible intelligence then allows police to be sent into dangerous situations without a proper risk analysis.

International best practice must be followed by ensuring police are trained in weapon retention, unarmed combat, officer safety during vehicle stops, domestic violence situations, crowd control and ambush situations.

Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, and Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, must commit themselves to immediately implement the plan announced by previous Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in 2011, to bring down the number of murders of police officers.

Here today, we honour the courage and contribution of the police who have lost their lives to criminals, and we commit to lobbying government to ensure that their colleagues will be safer than before.

The best possible tribute we can pay to the brave police men and women who protect us, is to ensure they are given every tool to maximise their safety on the streets.

I now call for a moment of silence to honour the fallen souls