06/12/2012. Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa addresses the media with the National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega at the Shareton Hotel, Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Johannesburg - Criminals seeking to thwart crime prevention efforts by making police officers suffer will not succeed, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

 "Those who seek to derail our crime-reduction efforts, merciless criminals whose intention is create anguish among us, shall not succeed," Mthethwa said in a statement.

"The war on crime is a people's war and as history has indicated, the people become victorious in the end."

Mthethwa was reacting to the killing of Constable Dumile Thethani, 38 while on patrol in Nyanga on Monday night. Another officer was wounded in the shooting.

Police said two men shot the officer in the head as he and his partner were getting out of their police car.

The minister described the shooting as an "ambush".

"We urge South Africans to rally behind our police officers," said Mthethwa.

"We can all begin to make a practical declaration by exposing those who kill our officers and not harbour them."

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it was "extremely worried" by the increase in police killings.

"We support calls... to put into effect practical solutions to 1/8deal with 3/8 this problem," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Cosatu said threatening "harsh actions" against police killers would not be enough to ensure the safety of police officers.

It said community policing forums needed to be revived, and street committees established. - Sapa