Yet the broader populace has to be disarmed. That doesn't make sense. It is apparent to me that SAPS is part of the problem, not the solution.
Back in the day, when I did my conscription bit, I was posted to many different SAP precincts, and I never came a across a situation, where firearms had gone missing.
The only person with access to weapons, is supposed to be the shift commander, and there is supposed to be a handover, after every shift, where you physically tally weapons and ammunition on hand. I can only speculate as to what is happening here.
Almost 3,000 South African police firearms were lost or stolen in just nine months, it emerged today – about three for every police station in the country, which has some of the highest crime rates in the world.
The worrying statistic comes less than six months before the football World Cup kicks off in the country.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, the opposition Democratic Alliance shadow police minister, said that the state weapons manufacturer Armscor had recently ordered 4,000 replacement 9mm handguns made by the Italian manufacturer Beretta.
A parliamentary committee heard that 2,944 police weapons were lost or stolen between January and September last year – more than in the whole of 2008, which was itself an increase on 2007, she said.
The recovery rate for weapons stolen from or lost by police was "extremely low", Ms Kohler Barnard added, in contrast to thefts from civilians, where it was 100 per cent. (Let me emphasise that again; 100% of stolen civilian firearms are recovered. Virtually 0% of SAPS firearms are recovered. Compute a total, and the numbers are in the tens of thousands.)
The figures suggest that, wittingly or unwittingly, South African police could be a major supplier of weapons to the country's criminal underworld.
"I can't discount that," said Ms Kohler-Barnard, adding that it was impossible to say how many of the guns declared lost had instead been sold by corrupt officers. "I don't know whether they are selling them or leaving them on the counter at Wimpy's when they go to have a hamburger." Investigations into lost firearms were sometimes launched, she said, but "nothing ever comes of them, nothing ever happens and no one is punished".
She called for action to ensure that fewer police guns "end up in the hands in criminals.
"The thought that a SAPS [South African Police Service] firearm might be used to shoot and kill a SAPS member is unconscionable," she said.
The SAPS spokesman responsible for firearms issues was in a meeting this afternoon and not available for comment.
Almost 50 people are murdered every day in South Africa, one of the highest rates in the world for a country not at war.
There are concerns over the safety of thousands of football fans attending this summer's event.