‘Vagrancy not a crime’

2015-05-05 06:00

Continues from page 1

During a sector forum meeting, Erickson informed residents of a break-in in Forest Hill drive where the same man unlawfully entered a home and rearranged the plants. He said the owners reported the case but were admonished by a female constable who said they cannot lay charges because the man was “crazy”.

On Sunday 8 March, a resident living in Forest Hill Road reported a theft out of motor vehicle case where various items were stolen. The resident was told a fingerprint specialist would dust the car for prints, but this concerned Erickson as there is no fingerprints specialist at Simon’s Town Police Station.

He visited the station and says the Community Service Centre (CSC) was empty, but he could see officers in another room. “My experience in the CSC was poor – the slow response, the gossiping in the communications room taking precedence over attending to complainants, and a generally unhelpful attitude on the part of both constables...”

Johnson, though, says in any criminal case the matter is investigated by the detectives. “If anyone, including vagrants, are identified as suspects they will be arrested in the matter,” she says.

She adds claims that police take the side of perpetrators are not true. “If someone has committed a crime we will arrest them, however, we can not arrest anyone on hearsay or circumstantial evidence.

“We realise that the vagrants are a nuisance to some members of the community, but vagrancy is not a criminal offence.

“When police are called out to deal with a vagrant, he/she will be treated like any other member of the public. When vagrants are suspects in a matter they will be treated like any other suspect.”

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