‘We cannot fight crime alone!’

2019-04-03 06:02
Sobantu Satellite Police Station. PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

Sobantu Satellite Police Station. PHOTO: lethiwe makhanya

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THE Sobantu community say they want National Minister of Police Bheki Cele to intervene in the functioning of the Sobantu Satellite Police Station in Mountain Rise.

Members of the community say they now prefer going to Mountain Rise Police Station or Pietermaritzburg Police Station in town when they want assistance because they know that their own local police station is not going to help them. They say they have tried numerous times to raise their concerns about the police station, but nothing has happened and instead things are getting worse.

One community member, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said most residents rely on the community policing forum to deal with their cases because there is often no officer at the satellite station.

“I personally do not know what is the point of having this police station if it is not going to help people in the area. It cannot even help us with a small thing such as certifying documents, you have to go to town or Mountain Rise.

“I have been going to this police station to get assistance with certifying my documents, but I was told that there are no officers available. I went two days in a row and I was told the same thing by the security guard. That is when I decided not to bother going to this police station again because it is useless,” she said.

Another source said they are disappointed in the police station and it needs urgent intervention.

“Criminals are doing whatever they want, whenever they want, because they know that this police station does not give help in time and most of the time it does not give help at all.

“If a person reports something urgent, they have to wait for a van from Mountain Rise Police Station and that van will take its own time before it can arrive at the crime scene,” he said.

A member of the CPF in the area who did not want to be named confirmed that most residents now come to them to report cases. “We work day and night fighting crime in the area but our police station does not assist us with anything.

“We catch criminals for them and sometimes we are even forced to transport the thieves with our own vehicles because there are no officers at the station and the van from Mountain Rise takes forever to come and collect the criminal.

“Sometimes people get angry and want to take the law it into their own hands while they are waiting for a police van.

“We do not sleep at night because community members come to us to report their problems. We run day and night catching criminals while police officers are busy relaxing wherever they are.

“There is a lot of crime in Sobantu and we cannot fight it alone — we need the assistance of the police,” she said.

When Echo visited the Police Station on Monday, they were told by the security guard that there had been no police officer available since last Friday.The guard said it was normal not to find a police officer there and he did not know why.

Station Commander at the Mountain Rise Police Station Brigadier Pregasen “Boxer” Pillay said they have not received any complaints from the public about the functioning of the satellite station however, he emphasised that satellite stations are not like other main police stations.

“People need to understand that satellite police stations are like a reporting centre where people can report their complaints and the police officers on duty will assist them by attending their problems and also communicating with the Mountain Rise Police station to get assistance urgently. It is not a big police station, we just have a small office there and it is the municipal building,”he said.

He said that the satellite police station should operate on a 24hour basis, depending on the availability of the members of the police because they sometimes have a shortage of staff.

“We have eight police officers who are deployed to work in this satellite police station.We have two police officer per shift, which means there are two members during the day and two during the night. We have two satellite police station under us, Sobantu and Copesville.”

He advised that if people do not get help at these reporting centres, they should contact the emergency number 10111 and a police van will be sent to them. If they do not get assistance on the emergency number they can also all call the head of Crime Prevention at 082 418 2018.

“Members of the community are also welcome to visit me in my office if they do not get the assistance they want from the police,” he said.

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