By Barry Bateman

An Institute for Security Studies (ISS) seminar on Wednesday heard that discipline and a professional approach to policing was needed to reduce the number of officers killed in the line of duty. These discussions come in the wake of several police killings and a spike in police brutality. The panel of experts suggested the establishment of a special task team to look into the problem. They said police need to rethink their approach to attacks on and abuse of the public. Delegates at the seminar said the police's lack of understanding regarding the use of force has created a "violence crisis". The ISS's Andrew Faul said the current "fight fire with fire" strategy was not working. “The more brutal police are, the more likely people will respond with force and as everybody ups their gun size, so too will the criminals,” he said. Faul added that a greater understanding of the problem was necessary. According to the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation's David Bruce, police discipline could reduce casualties on both sides. “[If criminals]… aren’t going to be tortured by the police… the motivation to violently resist arrest would potentially be reduced,” he added. Bruce also referred specifically to some of General Bheki Cele's recent remarks. “There’s a question about whether there’s a deliberate ambiguity allowing room for people to interpret it in the way that they think is most appropriate,” he said. He added that this has created criminals out of cops. “There is a problem of extra-judicial execution, specifically of alleged police killers, by police officers,” said Bruce. Meanwhile, the Independent Complaints Directorate’s Moses Dlamini called for better command and control of structures. He said police officers needed better human rights training. Police management was invited to the talk, but said they were in meetings. (Edited by Dennis Georgiannis)An Institute for Security Studies (ISS) seminar on Wednesday heard that discipline and a professional approach to policing was needed to reduce the number of officers killed in the line of duty. These discussions come in the wake of several police killings and a spike in police brutality. The panel of experts suggested the establishment of a special task team to look into the problem. They said police need to rethink their approach to attacks on and abuse of the public. Delegates at the seminar said the police's lack of understanding regarding the use of force has created a "violence crisis". The ISS's Andrew Faul said the current "fight fire with fire" strategy was not working. “The more brutal police are, the more likely people will respond with force and as everybody ups their gun size, so too will the criminals,” he said. Faul added that a greater understanding of the problem was necessary. According to the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation's David Bruce, police discipline could reduce casualties on both sides. “[If criminals]… aren’t going to be tortured by the police… the motivation to violently resist arrest would potentially be reduced,” he added. Bruce also referred specifically to some of General Bheki Cele's recent remarks. “There’s a question about whether there’s a deliberate ambiguity allowing room for people to interpret it in the way that they think is most appropriate,” he said. He added that this has created criminals out of cops. “There is a problem of extra-judicial execution, specifically of alleged police killers, by police officers,” said Bruce. Meanwhile, the Independent Complaints Directorate’s Moses Dlamini called for better command and control of structures. He said police officers needed better human rights training. Police management was invited to the talk, but said they were in meetings. (Edited by Dennis Georgiannis)

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