OUR VIEWPOINT: Cop’s Appalling conduct needs probe

2015-05-06 13:45


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The unprofessional and disgraceful conduct of a police officer who drove off after a KZN couple had asked him for help must be investigated.

Weenen residents Rudolf and Ranaé Niemand, who had just endured a two-hour horror ordeal, thought they had finally found help when they stopped a police officer in a remote area near Ladysmith.

After being released by the hijackers and then explaining to a police officer what had happened, the office replied, “Oh, sorry” and drove off leaving the terrified couple in his wake.

Rudolf Niemand said there was no empathy or patience from police and he has laid a charge against the policeman who did not bother to help them.

Unfortunately, the callous nature of this police officer is indicative of why many South Africans do not trust the police.

In its recent report, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation said its research showed that only 47,9% of South Africans trust the police, down from over 60% in 2012.

This lack of trust in police has led to a boom in the private security industry as many South Africans contribute to a form of double taxation.

Attempts have been made to identify why police incompetence and apathy is so prevalent in the SAPS.

The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate reports of SAPS inefficiency in Khayelitsha.

Rebuilding trust between the Khayelitsha community and the police was seen as a good first step towards addressing the high crime rates in the community.

The erosion of trust meant people were afraid to report crimes and in some instances were victimised after reporting criminal activity.

In many instances police indifference borders on the criminal. Rather than trust police, communities resort to vigilante justice to resolve their matters. The public perception of the criminal justice system is that if you are a policeman in uniform then you do not have to fear justice. Worse still is the perception that a policeman is not to be trusted.

The trust has eroded to such a point that people feel they are treated as though they and their tragedies do not matter.

This is unacceptable and officers who do not care about the communities they serve don’t deserve to wear the uniform

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