Background on the SA Police Service’s very own ‘bad boys’

2011-03-12 16:03

The tactical response team is the brainchild of police chief General Bheki Cele.

It was established in 2009 and is being deployed in all provinces on the basis of the idea that ordinary police officers are insufficiently trained to combat and handle heavily armed criminals who are willing to kill.

In contrast, members of this special unit have been equipped and trained to handle gun battles and extremely dangerous situations.

The special unit consists of a minimum of 50 members per ­“cluster” of police stations who are tasked with crime prevention, escorting dangerous criminals, providing tactical assistance to other units within the cluster, policing sporting events and providing support during disasters and incidents.

» Since the unit’s launch, it is facing 10 ­investigations already , with nine of these focusing on the deaths of civilians.

» About 20 members of the KwaZulu-Natal unit are facing criminal charges relating to violent crime and alleged murder.

» 11 KwaZulu-Natal officers have been charged with ­murder after a man was beaten unconscious in front of his child. He later died.

» About a month ago, a farmer in KwaZulu-Natal was shot dead after members of the response unit surrounded his ­farmhouse. Police say he walked out with a gun in one hand and a shotgun in the other. His family claims otherwise.

» Police watchdog, the Independent Complaints ­Directorate, has been tasked with investigating the team
after ­members allegedly beat a Somali citizen to death and robbed a shop in KwaZakhele, Port Elizabeth, in February.

» Charges relating to assault, attempted murder, harass-ment and murder against members of the team are being investigated in at least four provinces. –

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