Numbers dwindle

2018-06-26 06:00

Camps Bay police have lost around 40% of their staff complement over the last five years.

This was stated by station commander Captain Keith Chandler at a recent public safety meeting.

He added that this lack of resources often results in only two officers being on duty per shift and sees the station calling for resources from neighbouring precincts, such as Sea Point.

When questioned for more details, Chandler responded: “I am not in a position to elaborate too much on any resource issues, such as personnel and vehicles. These questions may be directed to our provincial or national office, as these issues are beyond my control. Camps Bay has lost personnel due to transfers, promotions, retirement, death and resignation.”

The provincial police office had not commented at the time of going to print.

Camps Bay Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson, Bernard Schäfer, says the reduction in staff at the police station is “very worrying”.

He adds that the CPF has escalated the issue to cluster and provincial level.

“We do what we can, but we don’t seem to get any traction from the powers above.”

Schäfer says that a resource allocation guide for the staffing of Camps Bay Police Station was drawn up six decades ago, and is still in use in allocating resources to the station, but is “woefully inadequate due to the property and population increase since then, not to mention the exponential tourist growth to this area”. He believes extrapolating numbers based on the population to compare police stations is a futile exercise, as “you can’t have half an officer, half a clerk or half a detective”.

Instead, Schäfer explains, resources should be allocated and compared according to shift strengths versus shift requirements.

“In 1950/1960 we were deemed to require six members per shift – we still sit on that allocation guide, but the reality is that there are on occasion only two officers on duty during a shift. This means that should a call be placed to the station, only one officer will be able to respond as the Community Service Centre at the station cannot go unmanned. This means that there is no backup should the responding officer need it, nor would the remaining officer be able to respond to an issue in the station’s holding cells, as officers are not permitted to go into the cells without a second officer being present at the station.

“How are we supposed to fight growing crime in a tourist destination with only two officers per shift? We have one officer arriving sometimes for duty and on occasion have even had zero members arriving for a shift.”

V Continued in page 2.

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