South Africa’s murder rate has reduced by 3.1% but the number of police officers killed almost doubled during the first quarter of 2022-23, according to the latest police crime statistics released on Friday.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and senior South African Police Service (SAPS) officials, including national and deputy commissioners Fanie Masemola and Thulare Sekhukhune, presented the first quarter, 1 April to 30 June 2023, crime statistics in parliament.

The stats show that 6 228 murder cases were reported, down from 6 424 during the same period last year. But attempted murders increased by 15.3% with 354 cases registered, up from 307.

Thirty-one police officers were murdered in the past three months, up from 18 in the same period last year. Police officers were killed in the line of duty and while off duty, with causes ranging from the theft of their weapons and work related investigations to disputes at liquor outlets and family relationships.