Under-staffed cops accused of ineptitude

Parow police station’s dire staff shortages were under the spotlight again at the Parow Community Police Forum meeting last week, where a resident complained bitterly about a burglar targeting homes in Onze Uitzicht, Panorama.

According to the woman, the burglar had been captured on surveillance footage “coming down the road with chairs on his head”, after whitting a house in the neighbourhood.

She said there had been a couple of burglaries at the same house, and the man was also involved in the theft of a Weber braai.

She said the police officers who attended to the complaint had been inept, and that police took longer to respond to complaints than the neighbourhood watch and her private security firm.

“What must we do to get these criminals off the streets?” she said.

Parow’s acting station commander Colonel Falakhe Dyanti said he understood the resident’s frustration, but that the courts, and not SAPS, decided whether a suspect could get bail. He also lamented the station’s lack of resources. “Parow has three vans and the area is too big. Now we have a new area, Burgundy Estate. You travel there for 8km,” he said.

Burgundy Estate was previously policed by Bothasig SAPS in terms of a so-called gentleman’s agreement. But this has since been broken off, adding to Parow’s workload (“More blues for Parow SAPS,” Northern News, March 15).

Northern News previously reported on the staff shortages at the station, which prompted CPF chairman Roger Cannon to write a letter to the Tygerberg cluster commander General Thembikile Patekile and cluster CPF board chairwoman Lesley Ashton asking for something to be done about it (“Parow safety ‘compromised’,” Northern News, February 22).

At the meeting on Tuesday April 18, at Northlink College in Panorama, Mr Cannon said he was set to attend a cluster seminar in Paarl and hoped to get answers to his letter.

“There has been no answer to the letter we sent to the commander regarding resources at at Parow SAPS,” he said.

Addressing residents at the CPF meeting, Senior Inspector Harold Peter from the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement said they received up to 30 complaints a day about barking dogs and “vagrants”.

Parow East resident Andre Daniels asked Mr Peter whether there was another community which had achieved success in dealing with street people “so we can copy that model”. But he cautioned that the discussion on homelessness, which had become a staple at every community meeting in Goodwood and Parow, should include the homeless.

“The voice that is missing is that of vagrants. They’re part of the community, whether we like it or not,” he said.

Ward councillor Leonore van der Walt said getting people off the street “is a long process”. “It’s not the vagrants as such that’s a problem, but it’s the anti-social behaviour,” she said.

A representative of Metro police, Superintendent Shaun Phillips, referred to the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) and how it was dealing with the issue.

“The CID has shown us that, with a consistent approach, you won’t eliminate vagrants, but how to make a difference, with the help of social development,” he said.

The next meeting of the Parow CPF will be at Parow Valley Primary School, on Tuesday June 20, at 7pm