The Minister of Police, the honourable Bheki Cele has urged the new members of the Public Order Policing (POP) Reserve Unit to draw the line between policing and politics, this follows the launch of the new units which will be deployed in provinces with the aim of increasing police personnel at station level to maintain law and order.
Minister Cele gave strict marching orders to the new members particularly in ensuring that they keep to the discipline of policing within the prescribed laws of the country. The Minister further urged the members to distance themselves from politics when responding to community protests but rather keep to their core business of policing. "Don't ask for political affiliations when you are deployed to communities, just perform your duties to the best of your abilities. Leave politics to politicians" Cele said.
The new Public Order Policing Reserve Units will multiply the capacity of the police members at station, provincial and national level. The number of different forms of operational vehicles and equipment has also increased to meet the current demands. "The additional manpower and additional resources are designed to improve the response mechanisms when police respond to public unrest situations and community protests" Cele said.
Minister Cele reiterated his strong position for members of the SAPS to continue to serve and protect. " I am not calling for police to be trigger happy however they will not die in the course of duty, theirs is to defend themselves and defend the defenseless communities, Public Order Policing is for the minimum force levels response and the force levels increases depending on the situation at hand" He said.
Human capital investment will be prioritized to ensure that we do justice in taking care of police personnel. "Our members remain our strongest asset in this organization, their well being is our priority" Cele added.
The Minister further issued a strong warning and word of advise to the new members to stay away from any form of temptation and acts of bribery. "Always align your behavior to the police code of conduct, don't be diluted by the realities on the ground, keep to the oath at all times" Said the Minister.
Minister Cele promised to keep to his word of walking the streets with the members and spending more time on the ground than in the office. "We will walk the streets of the so called no go areas, we will clean the streets and we will continue to do this until the people of South Africa say we are safe and that they feel safe" Cele concluded.