Cops to enforce stricter control over their weapons

The police service will introduce stricter measures to safeguard its own firearms, a spokesperson said on Saturday.

This was brought about by the “loss” of 147 R5 rifles from police stocks throughout the country over the past year, said Senior Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement.

“[It] provoked serious concerns among top management of the police force,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo said these firearms are usually not permanently issued to members as such, but kept in a pool and issued for specific use.

“The national commissioner [Bheki Cele] has directed provincial commissioners and commanders throughout South Africa to introduce stricter measures to ensure the safety of arms and ammunition,” he said.

“These measures would include assigning the R5s to individuals so that there would be accountability, as well as ensuring that guns that are not issued are better secured and properly administrated.”

Naidoo said three officers from a police station in Gauteng were recently arrested for allegedly stealing and selling R5 rifles to criminals.

“I have already indicated that our police officers who place themselves in such situations must be dealt with severely, both criminally and departmentally,” said Cele in the statement.

“It pains me to even try to understand why anybody would resort to unscrupulous acts such as providing criminals with the very means that would ultimately bring harm to their colleagues and themselves—not to mention our defenceless communities, and for this, I am livid”, said Cele.—Sapa

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