2009-03-16 : Resource crisis hits Pretoria cops

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2009-03-16 : Resource crisis hits Pretoria cops

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2009-04-15 13:27

Resource crisis hits Pretoria cops
Graeme Hosken
March 16 2009 at 10:05AM


Thousands of policemen and policewomen from across the capital's
stations are buckling under the pressure of a lack of basic resources,
which is making it difficult for them to enforce the law.


Incompetence and a lack of manpower, experience, vehicles, bulletproof
vests, firearms, handcuffs and pepper spray are cited as reasons
behind the sluggish fight against crime.


While police face a daily battle in fighting crime, SAPS management
seem oblivious to the problems on the ground, with the police
restructuring process, according to sources, on hold following
objections.


Gauteng police spokesperson Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said
station commissioners at the city's 28 stations were accountable for
their stations' resources.
'
He said that for any shortage due to loss, wear and tear or a criminal
act, procedures were followed to replace the equipment.
While Dlamini was unable to say whether the police management were
concerned about the shortages besetting stations such as Pretoria West
and Sinoville, which did not have holding cells, city police members
and the Gauteng Community Policing Forum (CPF) did not mince their
words.


While Erasmia and Lyttelton reported no shortages, a Wierdabrug
policeman said: "We're on the verge of a crisis. On paper we can fight
crime but in reality we can't. The public are sitting ducks because of
this."


Gauteng CPF chairman Zachariah Motaung said it was a miracle that some
stations still operated: "Members are trying their best but it is
becoming nearly impossible for those on the ground to work. If police
stations are to cope, their budgets have to be increased."


A DA report released in November revealed serious shortages.


Among stations surveyed were Hammanskraal and Temba.


The report stated that the stations had a shortage of 100 bulletproof
vests and 19 vehicles and 116 bulletproof vests and 14 vehicles
respectively, with five Hammanskraal police officers assigned per
vehicle, while at Temba, four members were assigned per vehicle, with
three detectives allotted to a car.


Both stations' management and detectives were lacking in training.


Pretoria West's CPF chairperson, Nagesh Chetty, said the station's
resources were abysmal.


"Half our members don't have bulletproof vests while the other half
don't have handcuffs. It's becoming impossible to protect the 300 000
people in our precinct."


Sunnyside CPF chairman Pieter du Toit said that while there had been
drastic resource improvements, there were still major shortages when
it came to manpower and radios. "We don't have enough. We have 300
police members but need 500 - not just anyone, but specialised
members, especially those trained in combating drug-related crimes."


Du Toit said there was a misconception about the number of people who
needed to be policed.


"Management think there are only 100 000 living in Sunnyside. while
Stats SA shows there are more than 200 000," he said.


Marie Kruger, Kameeldrift's CPF chairwoman, said the station lacked
properly trained manpower and the correct vehicles for the terrain.


"They are using city cars to police a rural community. They have very
few experienced police officers, with those who are still there
completely overwhelmed by the amount of work," she said.


A source at the Sinoville police station, whose precinct includes
Annelin, Wonderboom, Maglieskruin, Montana, Montana Park, Sinoville,
Cynthiaville, Kenley, Doornpoort old and new, Petro port,
Wallmannsthal, Bon Accord Dam and Pyramid, said they battle to put
vehicles on the road.


A Wierdabrug officer said: "Our computer system says we have eight
cars, but we're lucky if we have three. Those we do have are abused,
with at least two used to take members home, making it almost
impossible for us to deliver a service."


Nick Pascoe, whose area of responsibility includes Pretoria east -
Silverton, Mamelodi, Welbekend and Boschkop - said the area's police
stations were severely under-resourced.


"The police use a special system to allocate resources to a police
station, but the problem is that the data, such as population size,
which they are using predates the 2002 census. This means that
according to police management, each station has more than enough
resources, which is not the case," he said.





This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on
March 16, 2009
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GOSA
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