Police: No pens for public

2010-05-21 00:00

GOING to Alexandra Road police station in Pietermaritzburg to make an affidavit without bringing a pen may prove to be a big mistake.

Police officers there do not have spare pens to lend.

A city resident, businessman Jean-Pierre Mulder, had first-hand experience of how a person who dares to ask to borrow a pen to make an affidavit is treated at the police station.

Mulder, co-owner of the A.C. Crampton engineering company, said that when he went to make an affidavit on Saturday and asked for a pen, a woman officer ridiculed him in front of other police officers and members of the public.

“She put the [affidavit form] down on the counter in front of me and asked whether I had a pen, which I didn’t, and so I asked if I could borrow one.

“Well that apparently is a huge mistake,” Mulder said.

He said that instead of being given a pen, the officer told him “No, you should have your own pen.”

Mulder explained that he did not bring a pen along, and asked if he could borrow someone else’s.

“She then turned to the other officers behind her and remarked to them that I did not have a pen and they all just chuckled among themselves. By now I was feeling quite frustrated.

I then asked if she could then maybe fill out the affidavit for me, but [she said] it was not her job.”

He reminded the officer that the area where he was being embarrassed over the simple matter of a pen was in fact a community service centre.

“She then again told me that it was not her job to fill in affidavit forms and that the problem would be easily resolved if I just had my own pen,” he said.

The officers eventually relented and gave Mulder a pen after he had asked for one to take down the woman officer’s personal details so he could report the matter to the station commissioner.

He then continued to use the pen to fill in the affidavit form.

“When I asked her whether it was ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’ Khumalo (which was luckily on her name badge) she said I could just put ‘whatever’,” he said.

A Witness reporter went to see if he could find a pen to borrow at the police station. He too was told that there were no spare pens for the public to use.

“We used to have spare pens, but we have run out of them,” an officer told The Witness.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said police stations do not keep spare pens for use by the public.

“But we do supply our members with pens to use to assist members of the community.

“It is the duty of the members to assist in making the affidavit and commission it.

“ If the member refuses to assist in making the affidavit, there is a possibility of neglect in that regard,” said Mdunge.

He called on members of the community who have experienced a bad attitude among police officers at the community service centres to report the matter to the authorities for investigation.

He assured the public appropriate action will be taken.

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