Cops ‘lazy’ say public

2015-12-02 13:03

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Pietermaritzburg - The majority of people living in KwaZulu-Natal believe police are lazy and blame this for the long time they take to respond to call-outs.

This is according to the latest Victims of Crime survey released yesterday by Statistics South Africa, which revealed that 65,8% of KZN residents polled held this view.

The survey is a country-wide household-based survey focusing on people’s perceptions and experiences of crime.

KZN residents said the police took more than two hours to respond to emergencies.

Mountain Rise CPF chairperson Jay Jugwanth said he agreed with this “disturbing fact”, but added that the police were not lazy.

“I receive calls on an ongoing basis about the unacceptable delays [in response times]. There seems to be a shifting of blame from radio control [10111] to police stations.

“In any organisation there are shirkers, but to generalise that ‘police are lazy’ is unacceptable to the CPF,” Jugwanth said.

He said the long response time was due to a lack of resources, but only 29,3% of people in KZN agreed that under-resourcing was the problem.

Townhill CPF chairperson Edmund Szudrawski said they received “occasional” complaints concerning response times, with the police station “well within the set limits”.

“Possibly some people do have that idea of police being lazy, but there can be a million reasons for late response times,” he said.

In addition to residents feeling that police were lazy, the stats revealed that people felt the level of police corruption had increased in the province.

The statistics showed that the majority of people believe police engage in bribery out of greed and “to get rich quickly”.

Around 55% of those surveyed said that bribery takes place “to speed up processes” and 22,1% said that people pay bribes to avoid being fined.

However, most respondents — 774 000 people — said the most corrupt government service was the social welfare system, and the second-most concerned securing employment, with 472 000 people saying they had experience of or knew about bribes being paid in this regard.

The rising drug scourge in the province was also reflected through the statistics, with 79,1% of people saying that property crime was directly linked to drug use.

“Property crime is definitely influenced by the menace of drugs. Addiction compels those thieving to feed the habit. The CPF has heard first-hand from arrested suspects that they do crime to feed their addiction,” said Jugwanth.

He added that the CPF and police prioritised solving this problem and was “heartened” to say that Mountain Rise police teams were arresting drug dealers and housebreaking suspects daily.

However, Szudrawski said he could only agree “to some degree” that property crime was related to drugs in the Townhill policing area.

The statistics also revealed that the majority of people in the province believed that those breaking into their properties were from the local area, and that they were not foreigners. They also felt that it was most likely people from their own area who committed violent crimes.

However, 35,4% of people believed that crime had reduced over the last three years. According to the statistics, households in KZN and Limpopo said they felt safe while walking alone at night.

Provincial police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane denied that police took more than two hours to respond to emergencies. He said patrol vans attended to complaints immediately on receiving them.

“If a patrol van is busy with another complaint, a crime prevention vehicle or detectives, K9, flying squad or any other available vehicle is dispatched to attend to a complaint.

“Complaints in rural areas will take much longer due to the long distance police have to travel, however, in urban areas complainants are attended to much quicker,” he said.

Zwane also appealed to people to report “corrupt” officers to police management “as necessary steps will be taken against them”.


A LOCAL police officer agreed with certain aspects of the findings in the Victims of Crime survey, but said that every case should be dealt with on its own merits.

“There are some cases where people would have good experiences and some where people would have bad accounts. There are some police officers who would go over and beyond the call of duty, but there are some who just come in to make a quick buck,” said the warrant officer.

The officer cannot be named as he is not mandated to speak to the media.

He admitted that corruption in the police service was a reality, adding that “good police officers were often frustrated with this aspect” and therefore lacked enthusiasm for the job.

“The corruption, in the promotion system especially, does not help with the motivation of the police. We go over and beyond [the call of duty], but when you see people with less experience by-pass you then your frustrations are sometimes taken out on the handling of a case,” said the officer.

“Police are stuck in the same positions for years and often end up doing more than their job’s worth, which is frustrating,” he added.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  saps

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