Probe into officer’s conduct

2017-02-22 10:56
Plessislaer police allegedly refused to help local DA councillor.

Plessislaer police allegedly refused to help local DA councillor. (File)

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An investigation has been launched into the conduct of a Plessislaer officer after she allegedly refused to help a local DA councillor who was assaulted at the weekend.

The councillor, who asked not to be named, was allegedly assaulted when she pulled her car onto the verge of a home in her neighbourhood to let a taxi pass by on the narrow road.

The councillor said a man had stormed out the house and dragged her out of her car and onto the ground.

Another man pulled the man away from her and got her back into her car and drove her car with her daughter (20) and her nephew (four) inside, to safety.

However, when she went to report the incident at the Plessislaer police station, she was allegedly told by an officer on duty that they would not open a case against the man who had assaulted her.

“I was told that there could be no case because she [the police officer] said there were no visible injuries on me,” said the councillor.

“She instead gave me a form for a doctor to fill out. The doctor recorded a large bruise on my shoulder but the officer said I could only get a protection order from the court.”

Pietermaritzburg DA councillor Glenn McArthur, who accompanied his colleague to the police station, said the refusal of the officer to open a case showed a “lack of training and empathy”.

On Monday, The Witness contacted police to query the matter.

Plessislaer police responded almost immediately and said if an officer refused to help a member of the public with opening a case, the member should ask to speak to the station commander.

Plessislaer police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela said there would be an internal investigation into what happened and why a case was not opened on the Saturday when the councillor came in to report it.

He added that the moment an officer refused to open a case, the station commander should be called.

On Tuesday, the councillor was called into the station. Instead of opening an assault case against the man who allegedly attacked her, police escorted her to the man’s house where he agreed to apologise to the councillor in front of her whole family on Sunday.

The councillor said that if he did not apologise on Sunday, she would open the case against him.

She said she appreciated the help from the police following the incident at the station on Saturday and was “satisfied” with the way things had turned out.

However, this was not the first time recently police have refused to open a case.

The Witness reported that KZN EMS paramedics were attacked after they responded to a call in Slangspruit recently.

While in the area, four men and a woman had approached the ambulance, and began banging on the windows and shouting at the paramedics.

One of the men allegedly climbed onto the roof and the paramedics tried to drive away. The man allegedly hung onto the windscreen wipers and tried to block the driver’s view.

When the ambulance stopped at a set of robots, motorists asked the paramedics what was going on, and then “beat him up” after the paramedics relayed the incident. They then put him into the ambulance and the paramedics drove to Alexandra Road police station.

The paramedics said they had tried to open a case against the man but were allegedly told that there was no evidence showing the man had tried to hijack them.

The police then allegedly told the paramedics to take the man to Edendale Hospital, however, they left him with police at the station.

In another incident last week, a Scottsville woman who was mugged was turned away from the station when she tried to open a case. Isabel Maritz was on the corner of Boshoff and Langalibalele Street when a man struck her on the face and took her cellphone.

Musa Dube, Siyabonga Ndiweni and Bongani Mthembu were walking in the area when they saw the mugger attack Maritz. The trio chased after the mugger and the cellphone was recovered and returned to Maritz.

Maritz said she tried to open a case at Pietermaritzburg police station on Friday but police were dismissive, saying that her cellphone had been returned and that the suspect had run away.

Stats SA recently released their Victims of Crime report, which showed declining trends in South African households’ levels of satisfaction with the police between 2010 and 2015/16.

The survey also showed evidence of decline in police visibility during the last five years.

The majority of households in the country said they did not report crime incidents to police because they believed “the police could not or would not do anything”.

The survey also found that most households in KwaZulu-Natal (58,9%) reported police laziness as one of the reasons why they are not satisfied. — WR.

KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case could be opened anywhere, even if the incident had occurred in another town. She said a person could even open a case in Durban regarding an incident in Pietermaritzburg. 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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