Police ‘lack of concern’ probed

2018-02-20 06:00

Residents in Grassy Park are calling on police to step up with compassion towards the community. Angry locals say there is a lack of respect from police officials.

Following a recent incident, a Grassy Park police is under investigation for showing a lack of concern towards an injured, mentally-challenged man.

A worried Peter Van Kervel who laid the complaint at the local police station last week says: “While waiting for my wife in the car opposite Grassy Park Library, a well-known gentleman named Joey collapsed onto his back knocking his head. My daughter immediately ran to assist him, and I sent my grandson, Joshua, to Grassy Park Police Station to ask for assistance. He was told by the policeman on duty that he could phone for assistance himself.

“I then asked Joshua to come and point him (the police officer) out to me, on his return. By then the officer was sitting in one of the police vans, playing with his mobile phone. I approached him and asked if he was the person, and he replied yes in a very abrupt manner. By then I could see that I’d not achieve anything by speaking to this person, and asked if I could see his name tag.”

Van Kervel warned he would be reporting the officer. “He replied that I would not be the first, as 1000 people had done so in the past, and nothing had come of it. If this is the type of person we employ in our police service, I’m afraid I don’t see any hope for our beloved country.”

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says: “Grassy Park police can also confirm that we are investigating a 101 compliant. A disciplinary file was opened and is currently under investigation.”

The office of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) was also approached.

“We also note that police has further copied us into correspondence in relation to this matter. No complaint has been lodged as yet, as each complainant is required to complete a complaint form, and send it back to us with a copy of their IDs. As yet, we have only the written complaint, without the signed complaint form. The complaint form is a legal requirement and therefore we cannot process a complaint without it. In light of this fact, no investigation has yet been conducted by our office,” says WCPO spokesperson Deidre Frost.

All signed complaint forms are screened by a committee, and if found to fall within the WCPO mandate, will be investigated.

If it is found there was no wrong doing on the part of the police officer, the matter will be closed. Should it be found the police officer was in the wrong, and mediation has failed, the ombudsman will make a recommendation to the police provincial commissioner. WCPO recommendations are not binding on police.

Meanwhile Grassy Park Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Fuad Titus has also taken in on the issue.

“It is surely not in the community interest to have this attitude prevailing. Presently there are programmes running at the station to address this and it appears to not be working. The team of Grassy Park CPF will be in touch to advice of progress in the matter,” he says.

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