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'Cop killings can be prevented'

More than 70 police officers have died in the line of duty this year - the latest being a member in KZN today.

FILE: Gunmen opened fire on a vehicle driven by a member of the Gauteng police say a member of the Flying Squad. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Policing experts say they believe a clear strategy to tackle criminal gangs will help prevent police killings, while an effort must also be made to secure the support and trust of the community.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) announced yesterday that it was launching a national programme of action, which will see members picket daily outside police stations and march to the acting national commissioner's office.

More than 70 police officers have died in the line of duty this year alone - the latest being a member in Kwazulu-Natal earlier today. The officer was shot when he and a colleague attempted to pull over a suspicious looking vehicle.

The Institute for Security Studies' Gareth Newham says a greater number of police killings is linked to the number of armed robberies committed by well-armed gangs.

"We really need to see the South African Police Service put together a very clear and dedicated strategy of reducing aggravated robberies, and it requires increasing the amount of dedication from crime intelligence, forensic investigations and detectives."

The University of Cape Town's Mark Shaw, meanwhile, says public confidence in the police plays a role.

"I worry that we are facing a wider crisis of police legitimacy; partly around issues of corruption and issues of police violence."

Popcru intends marching to the police's provincial and national head offices to raise their concerns over police killings.

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