SAPS service delivery bungles cause for serious concern

By Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety:

I welcome the internal investigation launched by the South African Police Service (SAPS) into the alleged unprofessional behaviour of police officers in the handling of the Sanet de Lange case.

As part of my oversight mandate over policing in the province I am asking the Provincial SAPS Management to provide me with the full details of the investigation and its findings but also to expand the investigation to the case of rape and assault of a 14-year-old girl in Grabouw as well.

According to media reports, both cases raise serious questions on police officers’ attitudes to members of the public in emergencies as well as a lack of investigation and follow-up assistance being provided.

My office has in the past received complaints about sloppy police work and poor attitudes towards the public which I immediately escalated to the provincial police management for their attention and correction.

I am quite concerned that these latest incidents of police inefficiency show that cases can no longer be deemed as isolated. Serious intervention and preventative action is required from the SAPS management in the province to prevent a further breakdown of the relationship between police and the respective communities they are supposed to serve.

The bad service provided by the officers in question is tarnishing the hard work done by the majority of the brave men and women in blue on the ground and is a bad reflection on the police’s capability to professionally deal with investigations and the public.

People living in the Western Cape should report every incident of poor policing service delivery received to the independent Office of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman at 021 483 0669 or via email ombudsman@westerncape.gov.za.

Alternatively they can also submit complaints about policing service delivery to the Department of Community Safety’s policing complaints directorate by lodging a complaint at 021 483 4332 or via email at policing.complaints@westerncape.gov.za or safer@westerncape.gov.za.

Every crime scene, every alleged crime and every victim of crime deserves the same attention of the police as the ‘high-profile’ cases our criminal justice system has seen in the recent years. Quality policing, investigation and professionalism cannot be reserved for celebrity crime cases, the rich or the connected.

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