Cop shot in face during brazen attack on Cape police station

28 June 2017 - 10:40
By Timeslive
Gun. File photo
Image: iStock Gun. File photo

A sergeant at the Lingelethu West police station was shot in the face in the early hours of this morning by attackers‚ who entered the police station under the pretext of reporting a robbery.

Outraged Western Cape provincial detectives said in a statement they are hard at work in pursuit of the suspects.

The suspects fired shots in the community service centre‚ wounding the officer‚ the SAPS said.

"Police responded. The suspects then fled the scene."

The motive for the attack at this stage has not yet been established.

Western Cape Provincial Commissioner‚ Lt General Khombinkosi Jula‚ condemned the attack.

General Jula vowed the gunmen would be brought to book.

"Police are there to protect communities. An act of this nature undermines the authority of the state‚" said Lt General Jula.

Nationally‚ the South African Police Service is concerned at the number of its officers who come under attack. In March this year‚ the SAPS stated that in the 2016/17 financial year‚ 57 police officers lost their lives. Thirty one of them were killed while on duty.

However‚ over a 20-year review‚ the rate at which police officers are being murdered has fallen significantly‚ according to the latest South Africa Survey‚ published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

Viewed by decade (1995-2004 and 2005-2014)‚ more than double the number of police officers were murdered in the first decade after apartheid than between 2005 and 2014‚ the IRR said.

The survey found that:

- Between 1994 and 2004‚ 1‚970 police officers were killed. This decreased by 52%‚ to 945‚ between 2005 and 2014.

- The rate of police murders fell by 80%‚ from 252 per 100‚000 in 1994‚ to 51 in 2014.

IRR crime analyst Kerwin Lebone said: “The police’s primary role in the pre-1994 era was regarded as that of defending the government of the day and police were thus a legitimate target for political attacks.” He added that it was a concern that such a significant proportion (46%) were killed while attending to a complaint.

Despite the huge drop in police murders‚ South Africa remains a relatively dangerous country in which to conduct police work.

Lebone cited the comparative incidence of police murders in countries that kept records – such as the United Kingdom (less than four murders per year)‚ Germany (six per year)‚ and France (five per year) – which were far below South Africa’s rate. Even the United States reported only 50 police murders per year – a modest figure in contrast‚ particularly given that the population of the United States far exceeded South Africa’s.

The IRR surmises that police murders fell as:

- Overall levels of murder fell‚

- Private security took over the first responder role in many areas‚ and

- Communities increasingly came to catch their own criminals and hand these over to the police.