Police helpline: Man lets criminals go after 'waiting hours' for cops

2015-08-20 18:13
(File, Saps)

(File, Saps)

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Cape Town – A man claims he twice apprehended criminals and restrained them with a belt while waiting for police to arrive.

After calling the national 10111 number, Gavin Sher said he held them at bay with his firearm at his side, once in Durbanville, Cape Town, and again in Knysna.

"After waiting several hours for the police to come, I had to eventually let them go free with a warning," he said on Thursday.

His experience was one of many received in response to a News24 story on 10111 reaction times.

Many spoke of their frustration at waiting hours, days or months for officers to arrive. Some were still waiting.

Other common themes that emerged were:

- Waiting for an operator to answer the call.

- Resorting to calling a private security company to get assistance.

- Being told there were no vehicles available to dispatch.

- Being asked to phone the local police station directly.

- Dealing with an operator who did not know where an area was.

- Trying to convince the operator of the seriousness of the incident.

Bianca Naidoo said she called the police helpline about a year ago to tell them someone was trying to jump into their yard.

When nobody came to assist, she phoned back and was apparently advised that officers had been there, but she had obviously not heard them because her television was on.

When Frank Taylor caught a burglar in his house, he tried calling 10111, but couldn't get through.

"I lived down the street from the police, literally a block away, and it took them an hour to respond after I managed to get the number of the station and called them directly," he said.

While the majority of shared experiences were negative, a few people also said the police were efficient and responded quickly.

Durbanite Louis van Ryneveld said he used the number on numerous occasions and nearly always received exceptional service.

Officers would be on the scene within five minutes for emergencies and within 25 minutes for less serious offences, he said.

Last month, Fikile Mkhize called 10111 from Mamelodi and waited fewer than 10 minutes for police to arrive.

"I was happy with their job and although they might use force sometimes, they were considerate and understanding to my situation. I would like to thank them for an effort well done."

Read more on:    crime  |  police

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