Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 13:29 UK

SA police 'should shoot to kill'

Map of South Africa

A government minister in South Africa has told police they should kill criminals if they threaten police or the community, reports say.

Deputy security minister Susan Shabangu said police "must kill the bastards [criminals] if they threaten you", the Star newspaper reported.

"I want no warning shots, you have one shot and it must be a kill shot," she told an anti-crime meeting in Pretoria.

"You have been given guns, now use them," she added.

"The constitution says criminals must be kept safe, but I say no," she added.

The minister was responding to questions from residents on what the police and government were doing to curb crime.

South Africa suffers some of the highest levels of violent crime in the world, with police figures showing an estimated 20,000 murders committed every year.

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