Addres by Mr LB Gaehler EC NCOP MP in the National Council of Province
Honourable Chairperson and Honourable Members
In the light of the continuing increase on the number of police officers murdered, this year alone, the country needs to consider a number of interventions to respond to this matter of national concern.
Amongst others, there is a need to insist that anyone becoming National Police Commissioner must have a certain amount of police operational experience. There are many of those who can be found from within the service.
This should be linked with a need to have the National Police Commissioner chosen by a special majority in parliament like it is done when appointing the Inspector – General of Intelligence.
There is also need to look at practical ways to make local policing forums more representative of the people with added capacity in order for them to play a more practical role in assisting the work of the police in the safety of all citizens.
This challenge of police killings, demands that the leaders of the police double their work in improving the overall management of the use of force by police officers.
Simply threatening harsh sanctions against police murderers, and encouraging police to focus on using more force in their interaction with criminal suspects, is unlikely to improve officer safety. It will play into systematic police brutality, which will cause civilians to become fearful and less cooperative with the police.
Police leadership needs urgently to start focusing on improving the strategic, management and internal accountability capacity that will support professional policing.
Police members need to be prepared to be better able to confront dangerous criminals and defend themselves and citizens using lethal force.
They need the necessary skills and confidence to handle the complexities they confront in the daily engagement with the public while enforcing the law against all criminals.
There is also an urgent need to improve the public trust in police by amongst others, decrease police corruption and brutality. Communities must be mobilised to start respecting and supporting police officers as public servants who are well trained to behave according to much higher standard than civilians.
Professional police officers must be encouraged and be skilled to avoid using force in their interaction with members of the public unless and only when it is necessary.
South Africa wants a police force that can be trusted because its leaders are beyond reproach and its members are widely recognised as professional, respectful and accountable to the needs of the communities they serve.
UDM says STOP POLICE KILLINGS NOW – A POLICE IS YOUR BROTHER AND SISTER TOO!!