Critical report into Metro Police dogs still not done

2015-06-10 17:08

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Durban - The furore over the treatment of eThekwini’s Metro Police dogs has stretched on for several years, and was one of the “deep-seated issues” affecting the force that Mayor James Nxumalo pledged to address over two years ago.

Yet, despite promising that a commission of inquiry would be established to probe the core issues affecting the fractious city police, two years had gone by without any tangible outcome or recommendations.

On June 4 2013, Nxumalo called for a “wide-ranging investigation or commission of inquiry” to deal with “deep-seated problems” in the city’s metro police, as was reported by The Mercury.

“What forms part of that process is yet to be decided, but it has to be carried out to investigate all the issues within the police,” he had said.

His comments followed a spate of bad press for the Metro Police, which included an outcry over a standing order that all old or sick police dogs should be put down, instead of being able to see out their years with their handlers.

At the time, they had been likened to "office furniture", which had to be disposed of at the end of its lifespan.

The issues surrounding the working dogs, while visceral, was the tip of the iceberg which revealed a divided police force of over 2 000 officers, some balking at the leadership of Commissioner Eugene Nzama, who had occupied his post for over a decade.

In January 2014, the Sunday Tribune reported that a rift between Metro Police officers and their management led to the deliberate spoiling of over 60% of all hand-written fines in the past year, and the resultant loss of an estimated R30m for the city.

eThekwini Communications head Tozi Mthethwa said that a team had been appointed to address the issues facing the Metro Police.

“The Municipality has appointed an independent team comprising of academics and experts in policing matters to compile a report that will assist the City in addressing transformation issues and organisational development in the Metro Police Unit,” she said.

“For the intervention to materialise it must not be seen as a witch hunt against individuals. It will not be done as though we are doing a forensic investigation because it is not about that. It is about us going to Metro Police and critically taking stock about what are the strengths and weaknesses.

“The external exercise will help the Municipality redefine the role of Metro Police and make it a more efficient force. Ultimately the Municipality wants to restore the dignity and public confidence in the Metro Police,” Mthethwa said.

She would not be drawn on when the report would be finalised.

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