Police officers who continuously and recklessly lose their firearms will be fired from the South African Police Service (SAPS). Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, said this was part of measures to improve firearms control within the SAPS.
The minister made his remark with reference to a parliamentary reply to lost, stolen and recovered firearms. According to the reply, SAPS lost 3 453 and recovered 1 210 firearms, while civilians firearms lost were 8 498 and 3 985 recovered during the 2009/2010 period.
“Firearms form part of the resources that are given to police in order to enable them to fight crime effectively. Part of the responsibility is to ensure that those who are allocated these resources handle them with caution and utmost responsibility.
“We want to warn those police officers that if they lose their firearms as a result of negligence, we will render them incompetent. Once a cop is rendered incompetent to carry a firearm, he or she will be redundant in carrying out his or her duties and the obvious thing would be to relieve them of their duties,” said Mthethwa.
The minister was also concerned that almost only 50% of firearms in 2009/2010 that were lost by members of the public have been recovered.
“We want to urge society to exercise caution to ensure that their legally-acquired firearms do not end up in the hands of criminals. Much as we shall be tough on our members, we shall also be hard on any member of the public who loses his or her firearm,” said Mthethwa.
The ministry has begun rolling out an Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), where police officers have to account for each firearm allocated to them.
Source: BUA News
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