South Africa declares National Police Safety Month amid rising crime

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA -APRIL 6: South African police take security measurements as former South African president Jacob Zuma supporters stage a demonstration outside KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban, South Africa, 06 April 2018. Zuma appeared in the Durban High court on Friday to answer several corruption and fraud charges in connection with a $2.5-billion arms deal procurement in the late 1990s. (Photo by Ihsaan Haffejee /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: South African police take security measurements during a demonstration in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Ihsaan Haffejee /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

South Africa on Sunday declared September as the National Police Safety Month as more and more police officers fall victim to rising crime.

“During this month, we should all communicate and spread far and wide, the message of police safety,” Deputy President David Mabuza said.

The campaign is to raise awareness on the need for active partnerships between the police and the public, Mabuza said.

“Partnerships between the police and the public should be widely supported and strengthened by all citizens and communities,” he said on the occasion of the National Commemoration Day of the South African Police.

Mabuza echoed the call by Police Minister Bheki Cele for working together in “squeezing the space for criminals to zero.”

It is in active police-public partnerships that stability and order can be restored and wanton murder of police officers can be stopped, said Mabuza.

The police cannot discharge their function alone, instead they need the daily cooperation and continuous assistance from the community to deal decisively with crime, he said.

It is the primary patriotic duty and responsibility of citizens and communities to work with the government in dealing with the contextual causes of criminal behavior, said Mabuza.

According to Mabuza, 26 law enforcement officers and one reservist had been callously murdered this year.

These police officers were killed while effecting arrests, responding to false complaints, at stop-and-search operations and also in traffic accidents, Mabuza said.

“Our dedicated officers are fully aware of the risks they take on a daily basis. But their patriotism and love for their country, its citizens and communities is far bigger than any fear they may harbor,” he said.

It is encouraging that practical measures like the National Police Safety Plan are being put in place to reduce attacks on the police and to prevent their killings at the hands of criminal elements, Mabuza said.

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