Sunday, October 26, 2008

Good cops, bad cops

Have we, as a society gone too far, become too corrupt ourselves that we cannot recognise that WE too, are the problem? How often do we speak about slipping that R100 note to the Metro cop to avoid a fine? And stolen goods, do we question ourselves before we purchase them, even seemingly harmless items like pirated DVDs and music CDs?

The journey back for our country starts with each one of us. We must commit ourselves - today - not to engage in any activity that we, in our own conscience KNOW is wrong. I
f offered an opportunity by a cop to avoid imprisonment or a fine, refuse it, take the fine and report that person. If offered stolen goods, understand that someone may have died for that stolen cellphone or TV. If no one purchased stolen items, there would be no incentive for criminals to steal.

And more importantly, when friends and family speak candidly about breaking the law, speak up and remonstrate with them that they are a part of the crime problem. It isn't fair to complain about corrupt officials, government and police when you are a part of the problem. The old adage that it isn't a crime unless you get caught (a big ha ha) is twaddle. YOU know you are doing wrong and that should be enough. YOU

See also; Cops are making our lives hell

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Yes, there are bad cops in Durban. But there are also those w
ho are committed to their jobs and take firm stands against bribery and corruption.

This is the belief of the Durban Metro Police management after The Independent on Saturday's front page article last week on Metro Police intimidating and harassing motorists.

Police say there are, on average, 50 cases reported each month in which Metro Police officers refuse bribes and arrest corrupt motorists. This includes the case of a police officer who refused a R3 000 bribe.

The article also drew a huge response from readers, with many concerns being voiced.

Some readers expressed anger at being victims of police harassment while others said society needed to take a stand against lawlessness.

Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said the public needed to be mindful that there were decent police officers who faced unscrupulous motorists on a daily basis.

"Motorists try to entice police officers with these bribes in order to have traffic offences overlooked. However, these brave officers are not willing to entertain such corruption.

"We are dealing with these cases of corrupt motorists. We must remember that there are many good honest cops in the force and their hard work often goes unnoticed," she said.

Gillitts resident Kevin Stone said people should bear in mind that there was a general lawlessness in society now.

"There is a universal law that says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is my view that the city police force is merely reactionary to the attitude of the public towards them where there is no respect for law or any attempt to enforce the law," he said.

He added that many people "back-chatted" police or had "some pathetic story" to tell as the reason for breaking the law.

"Society has to take a stand so that any kind of lawlessness will not be tolerated for even the slightest transgression. It is often the people who transgress the law that are bleating the most about the lawlessness in our s
ociety," he said.

However an Umbilo resident, Erika Niescior, wrote in to express her disgust at being a victim of harassment by the Metro Police.

"My vehicle was impounded by a Metro Police officer on August 14 while parked in a courtesy parking bay which can accommodate three vehicles. My car was parked in the middle between my business vehicle and another vehicle behind me," she said.

According to Niescior, her vehicle was towed out of the parking bay.

"The officer tried to grab the keys out of my hand. He also thr
eatened to have me arrested, and said things like 'I know you're a woman, and we all know women have problems'.

"He threatened to have my vehicle certified as unroadworthy. I was given no paperwork.

"I had to pay R60 for a taxi to get to Durban Metro to have my vehicle released, for which I was charged R500. Attached to the towing form was a parking ticket for R300 claiming that I was parked in a loading zone. My vehicle registration number was recorded incorrectly, which I believe was done deliberately as the officer knew he was in the wrong," she said.


However, Paul Forbes of Durban North said the public had been begging the police for years to take a firmer stand against violent criminals.

"We shouldn't now cry foul when they are doing their jobs, albeit long overdue.

However, I read with disbelief of the Metro Police antics towards what appear to be minor misdemeanours, while consummately turning a blind eye to the buffoonery of the infamous and boorish minibus taxis.

"The question begging an answer is why minibus taxis transgress traffic laws with absolute impunity," he said.

Meanwhile a Chatsworth Metro Police officer, Sgt Marcus Govindsamy, said he was offered a R3 000 bribe by a motorist last month, which he refused.

"My colleagues and I have a strict policy and do not tolerate motorists offering bribes. Four weeks ago, I was driving in Malvern when I noticed a motorist shoot a red robot. He then sped off.

"I followed him and signalled him to stop. I inspected the vehicle and found it was unroadworthy and not licensed. That may have been the reason he tried to get away.

"He then offered me a bribe of R3 000 and he was immediately arrested. We later found that the car was stolen," Govindsamy said.

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