2007-02-16 : Officers unarmed despite promises

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2007-02-16 : Officers unarmed despite promises

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-02-23 17:25


Officers unarmed despite promises

February 16 2007 at 02:54PM

By Dianne Hawker

Three provincial traffic officers stationed along the most dangerous stretch of the N2 are still without guns.

This is despite statements by the department of community safety and senior traffic officials that they had been told to "buddy up" with armed officers.

On Thursday afternoon, when the Cape Argus visited the satellite station in a "red zone" crime area near the Mew Way turn-off to Khayelitsha, this reporter found the three unarmed traffic officers "protecting" each other.

According to sources, two were meant to be on patrol, while one female officer was officially stationed at the office.

Her two male colleagues had opted to stay with her "for protection". Provincial traffic officers have been unarmed since early in 2007. They are required to complete a firearm competency test in accordance with the Firearms Control Act.

Sources have told the Cape Argus that 24 officers completed the competency test in 2005, but their firearms were removed anyway.

Many of the city's 90 traffic officers patrol the red zone - the N2 between Jan Smuts and Macassar and the R300 between Vanguard Drive and Van Riebeeck Road. The officers wear bulletproof vests but have told the Cape Argus that they do not feel safe.

Provincial traffic Chief Pat Curran said traffic officers patrolled "two per vehicle". "They can either buddy with a colleague or with the SAPS.

"We are ready to issue them with firearms if they fill out the application forms. If they have completed a competency test and the firearm can be kept in a safe place after hours, then they will be issued."

Curran said there were enough guns for all officers.

However, more than one officer interviewed by the Cape Argus said senior officers had told them that a rotation system would be introduced where guns were signed out and in after each shift because there were not enough weapons.

# This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on February 16, 2007
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