Metro cops face probe

2014-01-22 00:00

AN independent body will be appointed to conduct an investigation into the affairs of the Durban Metro police.

City manager Sbu Sithole called for the investigation after Metro police were accused of manhandling people attending Friday prayers at the May Street mosque in Greyville.

Two people were injured after Metro police officers allegedly forced their way into the mosque.

The police were believed to be tracking down the driver of a car that had been double parked.

It is alleged that the police stormed the mosque to search for the culprit.

Yesterday, Sithole told the city’s Executive Committee (Exco) meeting that an internal probe was underway into claims that Metro police “manhandled” worshippers.

“We have asked for the report from the police management over the incident,” he said.

It’s alleged that about 15 to 20 Metro police officers stormed the prayer meeting after two Metro police traffic officers — who had been ticketing vehicles in the area — requested back up to arrest one worshipper who managed to escape after they allegedly assaulted him.

Sithole said over the years police have been under enormous criticism for their bad behaviour.

“We have asked for a report from police management after the weekend’s incident. And the report will be tabled in the committee.

“We need serious actions to be taken against those officers alleged to have been involved,” he said.

Sithole said they were campaigning to restore Metro police dignity. “Over the years, the force was seen as ‘darlings’ to the citizens but that had slowly crumbled away with officers accused of ill-treating citizens,” he said.

Sithole said an independent body will look into various issues in the force. “We want to deal with the transformational issues and organisational development.”

Sithole said he wanted Durban’s city police to have a reputation similar to those in New York and Los Angeles.

Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay said they were pleased with the approach. “Our police seems popular for the wrong reason. Its not council’s policy to disrespect religions and our citizens.”

DA councillor Heinz de Boer also congratulated Sithole, saying the move was long overdue.

“There is a need to find who is wrong and what is wrong with our police. Strong actions need to be taken against those who brought the unit into disrepute regardless of their political affiliation,” De Boer said.

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