National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole told 3 499 fresh-faced police officers that they should act within the law when combating crime and reminded them to also use the equipment and resources available them.
"Please don't die with your firearms," he pleaded.
As the new recruits take to the streets across the country during the festive season, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula reminded them of what will happen to them if they choose to commit crime instead of fighting against it.
During a passing-out parade in Pretoria on Friday, Mbalula said corruption and dishonesty tarnish the image of the South African Police Service.
"Many men and women in blue have lost their jobs, ended up behind bars and with criminal records because they succumbed to the evils of criminal activity and greed," said Mbalula. Vigorous recruitment drive
He said police had embarked on an extensive and vigorous recruitment drive which has led to 936 women and 2 563 men joining the ranks.
The training process comprises an induction phase of one month before they proceed to one of the SAPS training academies for eight months where they are trained as police officials.
Members are then deployed as fully fledged constables.
"These members have successfully completed various learning modules and practical tasks over the past months, which includes a one-month induction phase at a designated police station prior to the eight months [of] basic training."
The officers will now be placed at various police stations across the country where they will start a 12-month probation period.
Mbalula said all graduates had been thoroughly assessed and had worked very hard. He said 3 590 had entered the programme and 3 499 had successfully completed it.
The minister added that the understanding of human rights played an integral part of training and was therefore the golden thread that ran through all the various modules.He said the new police officials understood and appreciated the great responsibility and authority that had been bestowed upon them.
"They have the power to arrest and detain, in other words to take a person's freedom away from them. This is a power never to be taken lightly, nor to be abused."
A calling to be police officers
Sitole reminded the new recruits that their career was what they get paid for, but their calling to be police officers was what they were born for.
"We are very proud of you and we know that you are capable," he said.