Pretoria — National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega has encouraged police to renew their outlook on the service, saying law enforcement was an honourable occupation that serves the vital needs of society.
"Without effective policing, society is doomed. We should collaborate in ensuring that police officers are carefully selected persons, and that we invest in the development of talent and integrity.
"We should enhance focus on core policing outputs, the prevention of crime, law enforcement and maintenance of the public," Phiyega said on Friday.
Addressing members of the South African Police Union (SAPU) at the union's 5th Central Executive Committee, Phiyega warned that corruption within police ranks would not be tolerated. She said "rotten" officers eroded public confidence in the police.
"We must deal with the rotten [apples] decisively," she said.
While stressing the need for police officers to respect the rights of citizens, Phiyega pointed out that rights came with responsibilities, and that a lot of care, thinking and neutral engagement was needed from both sides.
"We continue to see more and more violent protests, that doesn't help us ... It requires us to collaborate with all stakeholders in ensuring that we plan thoroughly and come up with ... sustainable solutions ... to those problems..." she said.
She further condemned the killing of police officers, saying it was a phenomenon that could never be accepted.
"The death of one police [officer] is one too many ... We say no to police killings, hands off our police!
"In the period I've been in office, I've witnessed committed, passionate men and women in blue ... [Let's] go out there and talk about it, let's tell people that policing is a very important profession, it's a caring profession."
She also invited SAPU to talk about the education trust established for children of police who died in line of duty.
"Let's talk about how we can build a strong endowment for that trust fund so that those children can be educated. That's the best tribute we can pay to the men and women in blue that have fallen."
SAPU President Mpho Kwinika asked Phiyega to look into the training of police officers, saying it should include crowd management. Kwinika said that a lack of public understanding of the work of the police, if not addressed, would have a negative effect on the police and civilians.