Close relatives and colleagues have honoured the many police officers who died while serving the country by laying wreaths and flowers at a South African Police Service (SAPS) Commemoration Day Service.
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, Deputy Minister Susan Shabangu and the acting National Police Commissioner, Tim Williams were among the other high-ranking officials who joined the grieving family and friends on Sunday at the SAPS Memorial area at the Union Buildings.
A Roll of Honour was called out, with names of officers who were murdered in the execution of their duties as well as those who died in vehicle collisions or other accidents while on duty.
National police spokesperson, Director Sally de Beer told BuaNews that the total number of police officers killed across the country during the period 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008 was 107.
This is a decrease from 108 last year, when a total of 49 police officers were killed on duty, while 59 died off duty.
However, the number of police officers who were killed on duty this year are numbered at 49, while the number of police officers killed off duty decreased to 58.
Gauteng has the highest number of police officers killed. A total of 26 were killed on and off duty.
"Out of that total number, 14 were died on duty, while 12 more died off duty. This is because the province has the highest level of violent crime in the province, such as cash in transit heists, house robberies and car hijackings," she said.
Director de Beer said police officers were being killed because they face violent criminals on a daily basis.
She said as law enforcers, they were concerned about the killing of police officers in the country and were currently working on ways to make it a priority crime.
"As management, we will continue to provide adequate training to our members and at the same time provide them with the necessary resources to maintain law and order.
"We also want to urge members of the community to refrain from the mentality of violently attacking our members," she said, adding that the justice system should be tougher towards those who still believe in killing police officers.
Director de Beer said most were killed while trying to apprehend the perpetrators, similar to incidents like the Jeppestown Massacre where four police men were murdered in June 2006. - BuaNews