Police scramble to save face

2014-09-10 00:00

THE police yesterday scrambled to contain the fall-out from allegations that they failed to respond to a 10111 emergency call at the weekend.

After a report yesterday in which Witness section editor and Boughton resident Linda Longhurst had complained about the poor police response to an emergency in her neighbourhood, police officials said yesterday they would investigate the failure.

Longhurst had called the police in the early hours of Sunday morning after hearing a woman, her neighbour, scream for help.

She dialled 10111 and waited for the police until 3 am, but says they never arrived. She called the line later in the morning only to find that her earlier call had not even been logged.

She subsequently went to the nearby Prestbury police station make a complaint, where she was met with indifference.

Longhurst said yesterday the Prestbury station commander had called her and promised to investigate the matter. Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane also said they would investigate.

Meanwhile, another Pietermaritzburg resident told of her depressing encounter with officials available on the emergency line. She said after being stuck in traffic for more than 45 minutes and with the phone at the traffic department not being answered, she called the 10111 line. The officials there told her this was not their problem and refused to help.

The DA also weighed in on the fray, demanding that the police explain such failures to the provincial legislature.

“The growing body of complaints around a failure to respond — either timeously or at all — to 10111 calls by members of the public warrants the appearance of provincial police authorities before the KZN Community Safety portfolio committee.

“When a person dials 10111, it is usually because their life is in danger.

“For the call to be dropped, not responded to or only responded to hours later is simply unacceptable,” the party said.

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