The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has noted with concern a video clip circulating on social media platforms, wherein an aggressor is seen forcefully disarming a law enforcement officer.
We find it regrettable that when law enforcement officers are conducting their duties of promoting safety and security for our citizenry, they are often subjected to the abusive behaviour such as that portrayed in the clip by the person of interest, demonstrating a high level of disdain for the constitutionally-mandated tasks that these officers carry out with commitment.
This is but one of the unfortunate incidents which are particularly taking place at a time when our men and women in blue are going through the worst; with many having lost their lives in line of duty, while many others have incurred life-threatening injuries at the hands of criminal elements.
The past months have resulted in the deaths of over 40 officers killed in line of duty, while 876 perished as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which many others having sustained career-limiting injuries.
The Police Minister has on many funeral occasions of officers expressed that police officers should not die with their firearms by their side when they feel their lives are at risk. What transpired at the Misty Hills lodge is a typical example of what our officers face daily, where police took an informed decision that is in line with the legal principles of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 which states that (1) If any person authorized under this Act to arrest or to assist in arresting another, attempts to arrest such person and such person- ( a) resists the attempt and cannot be arrested without the use of force; or (b) flees when it is clear that an attempt to arrest him is being made, or resists such attempt and flees, the person so authorized may, in order to effect the arrest, use such force as may in the circumstances be reasonably necessary to overcome the resistance or to prevent the person concerned from fleeing.
The officers found their lives were in danger and acted accordingly, which must be deemed as justifiable.
As a union, we stand firmly against any form of brutality, be it against civilians or law enforcement agencies. We urge community members to cooperate with law enforcement officers as and when they carry out their duties, and strive to build common working relations that ensure we collectively address the challenges around violent crimes that have marred our communities.
POPCRU is in the process of preparing a Policing Indaba with relevant stakeholders wherein among others, engagements around the causes and consequences of police killings and the building of good working relations will be outlined.
Issued by POPCRU on 16/11/2021
For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349