THE increase in deaths due to police shootings were not the result of any “shoot to kill” statements, but due to an increase in violent crime, the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) said yesterday.

Media reports linking the increase in people shot dead by police to “shoot to kill” statements by high-ranking police officials and politicians, were incorrect, ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini said in a statement.

“In fact, such a link is not supported by facts. The increase in deaths due to police action is more attributable to the increase in violent crimes in the country.” According to newspaper reports, a report stating that police shot dead 556 people in 2008/2009, the highest number in 12 years, was released by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria on Wednesday.

This compared to 420 people the police shot dead in 2007/2008.

Police top brass and politicians, including police Commissioner Bheki Cele, have come under fire in the past year for urging police to use deadly force against criminals.

Dlamini said the ICD had not released any new statistics since October 2009, when it tabled its Annual Report 2008/09 in Parliament.

Dlamini said: “The figures circulating in the media were presented to a workshop by a well known researcher from the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Mr David Bruce and these figures have been public knowledge since the release of the annual report last year.”

The release of the Annual Report 2009/10 was scheduled for September. — Sapa

In Dispatch Online.