"You must shoot when your life is in danger of criminals. We cannot always have funerals of police killed by criminals," deputy police commissioner Maj-Gen Zamuthango Mki was quoted as saying.
Mki was speaking at the funeral of Sergeant Thembile Gulwa at Ngcwazi village, in Ngqamakhwe, on Saturday.
Gulwa was shot dead in an incident involving seven people in Kinkelbos, Port Elizabeth, in February, the newspaper reported.
A 37-year-old man was arrested for Gulwa's murder. Six other people are still at large.
Mki told community members to stop protecting criminals.
"When you do that, you are contributing to the increase of crime in your areas," he reportedly told the newspaper.
In 2009, former national police commissioner Bheki Cele said that he wanted the law changed to allow police to "shoot to kill" criminals without worrying about "what happens after that".
Parliament approved the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill in 2012.
It provides guidelines on when and how deadly force may beused to carry out an arrest.
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