Within two days, police members performing operational duties in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth have been attacked and fired upon.
On Friday, 3 June 2016 at about 14:55 police members arrested a suspect for possession of drugs in Voissen Road, Helenvale. The SAPS members had executed a search warrant at the suspect’s house. As the suspect was escorted to the police vehicle, angry community members pelted police officials with stones. A sergeant was struck on her face with a brick/stone. The crowd followed the police to the Gelvandale police station where they continued with their attack by throwing stones. As a result, police and private vehicles were damaged. The SAPS is investigating a case of public violence.
On Sunday, 5 June 2016 at about 18:15, SAPS members were once again patrolling in a marked police vehicle in the Helenvale area and as they drove up Fitchard Street, they met a group of people running towards them. The two officers heard gun shots being fired and the community directed them further up the road. Four suspects were seen running. Two suspects were armed with firearms and opened fire at the police. No one was injured but a bullet penetrated the police vehicle. A case of attempted murder is under investigation.
No suspects have as yet been arrested in either instance.
The Deputy National Commissioner responsible for National Management Interventions, Lieutenant General Gary Kruser, has noted these two incidents with concern. “Violent attacks on our police officers are unacceptable and deplorable, especially when committed by the very people we are deployed to serve and protect, the community. Every effort will be made and all available resources used to ensure that those who prey on the community and those who attack the men and women in blue, will face justice,” said Lt Gen Kruser. The SAPS will not be deterred by these heinous acts in our quest to ensure that all people in the Northern areas of Port Elizabeth are and feel safe. The SAPs has intensified their search for the perpetrators and appeals to anyone who has information on these incidents to immediately inform their nearest police station or the Crime Stop number 08600 10111. Callers have a choice to remain anonymous.
The Cluster Commander, Major General Dawie Rabie, has also stated that these attacks are a cause for concern, especially when the community start to protect alleged criminals within their areas. “Police officers risk their lives to protect our communities and an attack on the police is an attack on the State; and we must work together to stop it. When police vehicles are damaged, this means that there is one less vehicle for policing. Anyone who attacks, kills or hinders our officers will be brought to book. The SAPS will not tolerate any provocation of our police officers when they are performing their duties,” said Maj Gen Rabie
Since the start of Operation Lockdown in March 2016, the intervention units deployed in these areas have made significant inroads and several suspects have been arrested and illegal firearms and ammunition are being confiscated daily. To date 35 firearms have been seized.
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