Pretoria – Police Minister Bheki Cele says there will be no festive leave for police officers.
Addressing a National Press Club at the Leriba Hotel in Centurion last Thursday Cele said this included top-level police management, whose leave has been cancelled for the coming festive season.
“Our men and women in blue will not be taking a break. Any of our officers who want their leave approved will have to reapply after 15 January,” he said.
He also highlighted police plans for curbing crime in the coming festive season.
“We have found that most murders happen between Thursday evenings and Monday mornings. For this reason our officers will be deployed over the weekends, especially at so-called ‘drinking holes’. These areas tend to have the highest crime rates where murders, especially those committed with knives, tend to happen,” he said.
He added that police officers were now receiving special training to deal with gender-based violence.
“Our department is facing massive budget cuts but we continue to treat violence against women and children in the strictest manner. Officers are being trained to better handle reports of these kinds of crimes. The issue surrounding rape kits and their shortages at some stations has also been sorted out with the signing of a three-year contract with the supplier,” he said.
Cele said 1 818 officers were receiving specialised training to deal with gender-based violence crimes.
He also warned criminals that police would not hesitate to retaliate if forced to do so. “If criminals want to shoot at our officers, we will have no choice but to react with force,” he said.