Parow police station is taking strain from staff shortages, made worse by officers having to be deployed to strife-torn university campuses.
It is not clear whether the shortages are a result of the more than 10 officers who have been arrested for corruption in the past two years, but Parow police station commander Colonel Gert Nel says they have a plan to stay effective.
It includes a tracking system monitoring when and where officers respond to crime.
Speaking at the Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) annual general meeting on Tuesday November 22, Colonel Nel said if residents were unhappy about the service from SAPS, they should approach him about it.
“If you can’t get hold of me the same night, then first thing in the morning. Don’t leave it too long. I’d like to know about it,” he said.
Colonel Nel said there were unfilled posts – he didn’t say how many – at the station, and they were waiting on a recruitment process to be finalised.
He said that as is the case at other places of work, not all officers at Parow SAPS were productive.
“Some are like a wheelbarrow: if you don’t pick it up and push it, it will not move,” he said. But he said non-performance was dealt with.
“We have a disciplinary process in place, and I use it vigorously.”
The station, he said, had analysed the causes of crime in Parow, and drugs and alcohol had topped the list, along with what he called “interesting people”. “Those are the people that make me not sleep at night,” he said.
He said the #FeesMustFall protests made the station’s staff shortages worse because officers were pulled away from other duties to be deployed to the universities.
“Imagine six police officers sitting at universities for a shift,” he said, adding that this should end soon as campuses shut down for the December holidays.
Parow police spokesman Captain Kevin Williams said the station had a zero-tolerance for corruption.
“How can we fight crime outside if we have crime inside?” he said.
In September, a 34-year old Parow constable, Raymond Maarman was arrested on charges of corruption, dealing in drugs, possession of drugs and stolen property (“Cops bust their own on drugs, graft charges,” Northern News, September 21). In November 2014, 10 officers and a former officer there were also nabbed for corruption (“Parow cop shop clean-up,” Northern News, November 12, 2014).
* The police are looking for reservists. Parow has none, following a 2009 moratorium on recruitment, which was lifted in 2013. DA Member of Parliament, Mireille Wenger, raised the issue in November last year, saying the province had “a critical shortage” of police officers, yet there had been no intake of reservists for years. Goodwood SAPS has six reservists, having recruited last in 2009.
Reservists must be between 18 and 50 years old, must have security clearance, and must be employed.