Don't be trigger-happy, Cele tells cops

Police National Commissioner Bheki Cele on Friday told police graduates they had the right to return fire if shot at by criminals, but should not become “trigger-happy”.

“Don’t be trigger-happy, assess the situation properly. We must avoid the Mabopane incident,” said Cele during a parade of tactical team trainees at the Pretoria South African Police Service college.

He was referring to an incident in October in which a 28-year-old woman was killed when police sprayed a grey Toyota Conquest she was travelling in with bullets.

Police had mistaken the car for a stolen grey Toyota Corolla, which they had tracked to a nearby filling station, according to the Independent Complaints Directorate.

Two more people, a 31-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were injured in the incident while the driver escaped unscathed.

Cele reiterated a statement he made when announcing appointments of two new provincial commissioners in Pretoria on Thursday, saying the new recruits should shoot at criminals who shoot at them.

The two tactical response teams for Durban and Johannesburg were Cele’s brainchild and are aimed at meeting the medium to high security risk needs of stations and policing clusters.

They consist of a minimum of 50 members per cluster.

Cele said he was proud of the graduates standing before him and warned them against being corrupted by criminals.—Sapa

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