Police ‘hard to reach’

2019-05-22 15:15

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Copesville, Manor and Raisthorpe residents have complained that local police don’t take their calls and reports about crime seriously.

Multiple complaints have been posted on several WhatsApp community groups.

People have claimed that police either cannot be reached or do not arrive on time when crimes are reported.

A Manor resident, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said her house had been broken into in April and May. “The police were very difficult to get hold of. I called the call centre number and was told repeatedly I had the wrong number,” she said.

“I called about 10 times. When I eventually got through to police, it was on the same number I was told was incorrect. They arrived after an hour.”

When the second incident happened in May, the woman said, she called police while the break-in was in progress. “Police took too long and by the time they arrived, the burglars had fled with everything. I actually ended up calling ADT Security and asked them to get hold of the police for me because I couldn’t reach them.

“We all keep trying to build our lives, but our stuff keeps getting stolen.”

A Copesville resident, who asked not to be named as she feared for her life, said whoonga addicts were rife in the area and “steal whatever they can get their hands on”.

“My friend has had several of her chickens stolen. There have just been so many incidents. Crime is out of control in the area.

“We are taxpayers. We pay for a service but do not get any help,” said the resident.

An administrator for several community WhatsApp groups in Pietermaritzburg who lives in the Scottsville area and asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said theft “is a big issue”.

“Police need to understand that the burglars come armed. Even if they are stealing a towel, they come with a knife.”

He added that beefing up security was also expensive, but building a community relationship with the police would help.

He said there were police and traffic officers as well as private security companies on the groups — all working together to fight crime. “The groups mean we get information out there quickly and the response from the community, police and private security is overwhelming.”

Raisthorpe resident and founder of the Sector 4 Policing Forum Bacha Beharie said lots of people living in the northern areas had lost faith in the police.

There were a number of “excellent police officers”, but the main challenge was the charge office at Mountain Rise, he said.

“People have stopped opening up cases for theft because they don’t want to deal with the Mountain Rise charge office. We don’t rely on police. We rely on our private security companies.”

Mountain Rise’s Brigadier Boxer Pillay, however, said he had not received any complaints from the community regarding the charge office or any other service delivery issues. He said he had made his e-mail and cell number available to the public but he had not received any complaints from the community.

“If anyone has any complaints, please e-mail me or phone me and they will receive my personal attention. Everyone has a right to complain but we cannot sort issues out if we do not know what they are.”

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said there was a good relationship between the police and the community. “Our relationship with the community intensified two years ago with the WhatsApp groups. Information is instant and we all work together,” he said.

Pillay said he could be contacted at pillayboxer@saps.gov.za or 082 335 0691.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police

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