Residents are hesitant to open cases at Sea Point police station, according to Sea Point City Improvement District chairman Jacques Weber, because of the lack of action and responsibility.
Mr Weber said he has received five complaints this year about the Sea Point SAPS’ unwillingness to act.
“It comes down to just the basic non-customer/client approach of officers refusing to either open cases, being rude or dismissive and such. Again, not all officers at Sea Point are like this and there are some incredible hard-working officers who are 1000% committed to serving the people of SA but there are those who are just plain old lazy and not interested to serve,” Mr Weber said in an email.
Trevor Lagerwey, a resident of Green Point for two years, said the neighbourhood watch, rather than the police, assisted when he caught a burglar breaking into his car on April 3.
“I heard the alarm of my car going off and I caught this guy in my car going through my stuff, I managed to apprehend him and a few minutes later the neighbourhood watch rocked up,” said Mr Lagerwey.
“The neighbourhood watch patrollers called the police, my neighbour sent a request via an app, I called the police but no one from SAPS came to the scene. The patrollers told me that they don’t think the police will come due to a shift change.
“An hour passed and the neighbourhood watch also had to leave. When I called the police I spoke to a lady at Sea Point SAPS she confirmed that they won’t respond because of shift change, and she mentioned that they are busy and they will come when they can come. I couldn’t believe it. Eventually I had to let this guy go,” the 35-year old added.
Colonel Helena Mouton, station commander of Sea Point SAPS, admitted that they don’t have enough vehicles and asked that people be considerate while dealing with the cops.
“I found that sometimes our police officers are met with extreme hostility, which influence the moral of a police official. Inherently a police officer wants to be of service to the community and therefore I urge the community to build a partnership with the police officials patrolling and coming to your house to be of service, mostly at a time when you had some sort of traumatic or bad experience,” Colonel Mouton said.
“The armed response is who you go to first when there is a problem. The police usually don’t have a vehicle available,” said Toni Van Eyssen, the co-ordinator of Seapoint Fresnaye Bantry Bay (SFB) Ratepayers’ and Residents’ association.
The Green Point resident added: “I know of a situation where a neighbour’s car was stolen. They (police) showed no urgency, there was little follow-up, their actions were disappointing.”
Sea Point Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Heather Tager, SAPS nationally and locally haven’t been immune to the impact of Covid-19 and it has put pressure on the service they have been able to provide, “not least from a severe shortage of staff in many disciplines”.
“I have been aware from time to time of concerns from residents that they are not getting the service they should from SAPS. Whenever I am made aware of such I follow up with the station commander and I have regular meetings with her and the wider local management at the local station,” said Ms Tager.
She added that members of the public should make formal complaints if they are let down by the local police.
“Sadly all too often complaints are made on various social media platforms but not directly to those who can follow them up and take action,” Ms Tager added.
Colonel Mouton added: “If you feel that you did not receive the service you expected from SAPS, SAPS does have a system in place to deal with service delivery complaints and members of the public are welcomed to lodge such complaints in order for us to investigate if our members stepped outside the line and bring them back inline and to enable us to address issues that hamper our service delivery. Please avoid placing incidents on social media platforms before lodging a complaint with SAPS.”
Service Delivery complaints can be lodged at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or directly with the station commander at email@example.com. Written communication is preferred for record purposes. Alternatively you can contact the National Service Complaints Call Centre on 0800 333 177.