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Cop killings continue: How can police members be protected in their communities?

19 February 2020 11:57 AM
Tags:
Cop killings
SAPS
Eldred de Klerk
Africa Centre for Security and Intelligence

Community conflict specialist Eldred de Klerk discusses SA's pathology of violence and how SAPS should be protecting their own.

Police members living in violence hotspot communities face danger not only on the job, but also once they return home.

Last week, 38-year-old Constable Mlungisi Kidwell Ranaka was shot dead when armed men entered his home demanding his service pistol. He did not have the pistol with him, but was shot in the head anyway.

Kieno Kammies interviews Eldred de Klerk, senior policing and community conflict specialist at the Africa Centre for Security and Intelligence Praxis (ACSIP).

De Klerk reflects on the post-democracy move to strengthen relationships between communities and police after the former system of "strangers policing strangers" which served to foster brutality.

The police didn't speak our language, they didn't look like us, they didn't live where we lived, they didn't know our kids... As a consequence it was easier for police officers to demonise others and be brutal against them.

Eldred De Klerk, Senior policing and community conflict specialist - ACSIP

One of the results of the changed mindset he says, is that police are now subjected to the same risks as the community in crime-plagued areas.

Referring to the case of Constable Ranaka as a tragedy, de Klerk notes that out of tragedy comes an opportunity to have a conversation.

How do we care for police officers? Where should they work? There are police officers who live in police flats or compounds. They're still situated largely in neighbourhoods... Often police get collected at home because they work shifts and crazy hours when there's no public transport.

Eldred De Klerk, Senior policing and community conflict specialist - ACSIP

This pathology of violence where he says 'I don't have my service pistol' and you still proceed to kill somebody and proceed to take material goods - that's an indictment on our community as a whole...

Eldred De Klerk, Senior policing and community conflict specialist - ACSIP

And when police officers feel threatened you would hope that they have the support from the senior police management and leadership where they can walk in and say 'I don't feel comfortable, I'm likely to be compromised where I am. How can you as an institution support me?'

Eldred De Klerk, Senior policing and community conflict specialist - ACSIP

It's often the senior officers who have access to vehicles, enabling them to commute independently he says, while junior officers sometimes don't get the necessary support.

Listen to his insights on the country's pathology of violence and how it impacts police officers:


19 February 2020 11:57 AM
Tags:
Cop killings
SAPS
Eldred de Klerk
Africa Centre for Security and Intelligence

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