Friday, July 29, 2011

Cool war talk, Bheki Cele urged

Cool war talk, Bheki Cele urged
RETHA GROBBELAAR 29 July, 2011 00:34

National police commissioner Bheki Cele should focus on creating a more professional police force and not on war talk, says Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies.
In the past five days, three police officers were killed on duty in Gauteng. In addition, two constables were found dead yesterday in a house in Sebokeng. The circumstances of their deaths are not known.

Burger said yesterday that the police needed better tactical training at station level.

"Units like the national intervention unit undergo continuous advanced tactical training, and they have almost a zero casualty number, but not all police officers at stations have had advanced tactical training," Burger said.

Cele spoke angrily about the killing of police officers when visiting their families recently.

At the funeral last month of police reservist Lieutenant-Colonel Marco Ishlove, Cele said that killers of policemen would have "sleepless nights". Ishlove was killed in a shootout with a gang of five men in Johannesburg.

Cele said: "If that is a policy of 'shoot to kill', let it be . no member [of the police] must die with a gun in his hand."

Burger said Cele should focus on creating a more professional, not more aggressive, police force, and create better relationships between the police and communities.

"If you have the community on your side, they won't allow the police to be attacked."

Police leaders calling for more aggression could lead to officers, already under pressure because they were confronted by violence every day, taking their aggression home, Burger said.

National police spokesman Captain Dennis Adriao said that officers were shot at often and in many instances survived.

"[They are] the "victors, which shows that police training is good".

"We give enough tactical training to police officers," Adriao said.

All officers took refresher courses on street survival "every couple of years", and this included tactical training.

Provincial police spokesman Captain Katlego Mogale said a nine-year-old boy found the bodies of his 40-year-old father and of another constable in a house in Sebokeng yesterday.

The officers both worked at the Vereeniging police station.

A service pistol was found on the scene.

Mogale said the police were still trying to establish to whom it belonged.

The death toll of police officers killed since January is now 54, excluding the two officers found dead in Sebokeng yesterday.

■On Wednesday, Warrant Officer Mxolisi Mdutyana was shot and killed in the Joe Slovo informal settlement on the East Rand while on patrol with a reservist constable.
Student constable Sonwabile Beyaphi, who was sleeping in a shack during the shooting, was shot in the jaw.

■On Sunday, two flying squad members, Lefu Mokoena, 45, and Bhekuyise Mahlalela, 47, were killed when two people in a bakkie that they had pulled over, shot them near Zonkizizwe, on the East Rand.

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