Durban paramedic service accuses metro cops of 'kidnapping', harassing employees

2018-04-05 12:24
Head of Rescue Care Garrith Jamieson (centre) with paramedic staff members. (Rescue Care website)

Head of Rescue Care Garrith Jamieson (centre) with paramedic staff members. (Rescue Care website)

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Durban-based paramedic service Rescue Care is taking the Durban Metro Police to task after two of its employees were allegedly wrongfully arrested on Wednesday.

Head of Rescue Care, Garrith Jamieson, said two of his paramedics landed in a nightmare experience with Durban metro police after they responded to an accident.

Jamieson said a tow truck driver had informed the paramedics of an accident, which they reacted to "with haste".

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"They arrived to find that the accident had, in fact, been staged by members of the eThekwini Metro Police and officials from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), as part of what we understand was an unauthorised operation."

According to Jamieson, the ambulance was searched "without a warrant or reason to believe it was involved in the commission of a crime".

"Our staff were ostensibly kidnapped and had their phones taken from them. They were harassed and pilloried by officers of the eThekwini Metro Police. It remains unclear to us exactly what these officials were searching for. Nothing illicit was found in our ambulance, and our staff were not charged."

Jamieson said both paramedics were detained without cause.

'Detained for another five hours'

"Our attorneys have now proceeded with registering criminal cases of: contravention of Section 28 of the Criminal Procedure Act (unlawful search); kidnapping; unauthorised borrowing; cybercrime; crimen injuria; and impersonating a police officer, against the officials linked to the unfortunate series of events that played out during this debacle."

Rescue Care attorney Wesley Rogers said a case had been opened at Durban Central Police Station.

"It may not have been registered yet, but we have indeed opened a case. I can confirm this. The paramedics were detained without cause at the scene. Thereafter, they were detained for another five hours, while police went on a fishing expedition."

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Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said city police had yet to receive a complaint.

"I can confirm a joint sting operation was held at the request of Icasa, with tow trucks and ambulances monitoring police radio channels and arriving 'uncalled' to scenes of accidents."

According to police spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele, no case had been opened by the paramedic service.

She however said that two paramedics, both understood to have no affiliation to Rescue Care, were arrested after they were allegedly found in possession of unlicensed two-way radios.

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