Action against city cops

2009-10-16 00:00

ELEVEN Mountain Rise police officers have been given letters of suspension or disciplinary action over allegations of crime statistics manipulation at the station.

The alleged rigging of the statistics is being probed by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner’s office following a directive from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to charge Mountain Rise station commissioner Hariram Badul.

The Witness has the names of the officers who received the letters.

SA Police Service provincial spokeswoman Phindile Radebe confirmed that the letters have been issued as part of the investigation.

“The investigation has not been finished, but it is nearing its final stages. The officers who have been issued with notices have been given seven days to make representations on why they should not be suspended,” she said.

The controversy about the crime statistics was brought to the public notice after the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) swooped on the station last November. The sharp decline in crime reported by the station raised its profile and earned it praise and a R500 000 bonus for being the top station in the province.

But Mthethwa told Parliament on Wednesday the station failed to include 147 crimes in its statistics report, while it is suspected that 253 dossiers were not registered on the SAPS central database.

The ICD, acting on information supplied by whistleblower Craig Josiah (who was suspended allegedly for exposing the fraudulent manipulation of crime statistics), raided the station and confiscated boxes with dockets believed to have been kept in a room without being recorded.

The Democratic Alliance has raised concerns about the latest developments. Its spokewoman on policing, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said in a statement yesterday that “we have received further information that the acting provincial commissioner has apparently ‘guaranteed’ these SAPS members that they will not be suspended. “If this is the case, this is entirely unacceptable, and probably unlawful. I will thus submit parliamentary questions right away to get to the truth”.

Barnard said the officers under investigation are receiving legal counsel from state attorneys, while Josiah was denied the same benefits. “The whistleblower had to go to extraordinary lengths to have his salary reinstated. He was refused SAPS legal representation and had to seek a high court ruling to have his case heard,” she said.

• In Cape Town, four high-ranking police officers, including Lansdowne police station commissioner Senior Superintendent Charlene Chandler, were suspended for altering statistics in July. This week, Chandler pleaded guilty to a charge of defeating the ends of justice. She was fired and two other officers, who pleaded guilty to charges of misconduct, were handed dismissals suspended for six months. The fourth officer, who pleaded not guilty, resigned.

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