'Protect yourselves when confronted by gun-toting criminals' - Cele tells police officers

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Minister of Police Bheki Cele.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele.
Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach
  • Bheki Cele urged police officers to protect themselves against armed criminals.
  • He warned officers that armed criminals wouldn't hesitate to fire.
  • Officers were reminded to assist and respect victims of GBV.

Police Minister Bheki Cele urged officers to protect themselves when confronted by gun-toting criminals.

Cele deviated from his infamous shoot-to-kill phrase.

Instead, he warned police officers that they deal with hardened and armed criminals, who would not hesitate to shoot.

Cele was addressing the Safer Festive Season Inspection Tour in the Eastern Cape.

He said some criminals wouldn't hesitate to end the life of a police officer in pursuit of what they wanted. 

"Police officers, you are the country's assets. You are helpful to the country. I'm making this call to all of you this festive season to protect yourself as stipulated by the law. 

"… when confronted by gun-toting criminals, don't hesitate - because, when a criminal pulls a gun on you, the only thing to follow is you getting shot and possibly being killed," said Cele.

According to the 2020/2021 National Crime Statistics, 80 officers were killed on and off duty.  

Seventeen of those members were killed in the Eastern Cape, while KwaZulu-Natal recorded 21 police murders.

READ | Cele: I didn't say shoot to kill

Cele called on the police to clamp down on violent crimes, including sexual offences, which occur during social gatherings and other festivities associated with the holiday season.  

He raised concerns about a minor arrested for a series of rapes in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape. 

The 14-year-old boy faces seven counts of rape, with the first case reported in 2019 when he was only 12 years old. 

"It is on that score that all operational members of the SAPS are instructed to prioritise gender-based violence (GBV) crimes and constantly improve their services to rape survivors. 

"A call has been made to all officers to ensure police stations are not centres of secondary victimisation for victims of GBV," Cele said.

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