“Being a police officer may be a thankless job, but you have dedicated your lives to the cause and today we thank you for your loyalty and hard work.” This was said by Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkhongi during a ceremony to honour the long service of officers in the force.More than 40 officers were received medals for their services, which ranged from 10 to 30 years, at an event at the Zolani Centre in Nyanga on Thursday. Mkongi encouraged them to continue doing the good work despite not receiving due praise for their diligent work. “When a police officer does something wrong it is plastered in the front pages of newspaper and all over the media but when they do good, it’s usually in lesser articles. Despite this we have good officers who are not corrupt and(who) conduct their work with loyalty,” he said. He said that the work does not stop when one receives a medal but they must work even harder keep the values the medal represent. “Now that you have these medals, you must keep up the good work, the values and ethics that they represent. I understand the difficulties that you face as officers: It takes eight years for an officer to be promoted which is not good enough. We need to find away to fast track this. This is important because it talks directly to the problem of officers being underpaid. When officer are on an annual leave they lock themselves in their shacks because they cannot afford to travel, (to)go on vacation,” he said. Provincial Commissioner Major-General Khombinkosi Jula reminded them of the Six Point Action Plan that Minister FIkile Mbalula wants to be implemented. “Victims must be the first priority, especially those who report gender and sexual violence. We must ensure that they are assisted in victim friendly rooms. They must be referred to a medical practitioner and all sexual offences must be referred to the Family and Sexual Offences Unit who are specially trained to deal with such. We must provide feedback to victims on a continuous basis as the case or investigation continues,” said Jula.