Snap! Cop car used for camping trip
Christine van der Westhuizen
Johannesburg - A holidaymaker was amazed to see a police vehicle arrive at a campsite, load some campers’ equipment, hook up a trailer and then drive off.
“It was our first day at Drakensville holiday resort in the Eastern Free State in late December, and when we arrived we noticed four boys lying and waiting on their mattresses at their camp site,” said the man, who wishes to remain anonymous.
“Shortly afterwards a double-cab police vehicle arrived.
A policeman in uniform – and he must have been quite senior because he was wearing lots of stars and medals – got out. The trailer was hooked up, the mattresses loaded and, with the four boys on the back, they drove away.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes and decided I should take photos of the whole business,” he said.
“We always hear about the shortage of vehicles when we need the police.
“What if there had been a murder, and the police are driving campers around the place?”
Free State provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Billy Jones said the officer who was driving the vehicle had been identified and the matter is being investigated.
“If it is found that he broke the rules, steps will be taken against him.
“The policy is that government vehicles may only be used for official purposes, that is, operational or administrative support services.
"In cases where a member is on standby, he is allowed to go home in an official vehicle on the understanding that he is available to be called out to a crime scene at any time.”
Gareth Newham, head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, said the misuse of official vehicles is a problem worldwide, and not only the police have difficulties managing their fleet of vehicles.
“But the use of vehicle tracking systems allows the police to monitor their vehicles more easily these days,” he said.