With the recent spate of police killings (see here, here, here, here), you'd think the top brass would climb down from their ivory towers and visit the poor plebs on the beat to ascertain where they could help to keep them safe, and whether they had everything they needed to do their jobs effectively.
Ah, but that would entail them putting down their serviettes, missing lunch and shifting their lazy, fat, lard arses to visit police stations. Eish, sounds too much like actual work. Instead they rely on the shaky communication channels between the "personnel in charge of distribution" and/or the police station commanders who no doubt probably have to go through yet more convoluted 'channels' to get their voices heard - maybe. It's a mess.
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The top management of the SA Police Service are being lied to by their own staff as regards equipment and other shortages at police stations, says the Democratic Alliance.
“Somebody is lying to them,” DA safety and security spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard told a media briefing at Parliament.
A DA survey of 20 police stations in six provinces showed there were critical shortages of equipment such as bullet-proof vests, vehicles, firearms, batons and radios, as well as a lack of interview rooms, suspect identification rooms and office equipment, among other things.
There were also staff shortages.
Kohler-Barnard said SAPS top management and the safety and security ministry had given repeated assurances there were no shortages of equipment, particularly bullet-proof vests, at police stations.
“I'm not suggesting top management would lie... but they are being misled,” she said.
The discovery of the shortage of equipment “is especially significant given the high number of police officers who have been murdered this year”.
Asked who was lying, Kohler-Barnard replied: “I believe that quite possibly... the personnel in charge of distribution are telling upper management that everything is out there, everything has gone to the stations and everything’s working perfectly well.”
But the problem was the equipment was not being handed out.
A DA discussion document -- titled “Cops with Empty Holsters: Critical Equipment Shortages in the SAPS” -- was given to journalists at the briefing.
It deals with the results of a survey conducted at 20 police stations. According to the document;
- almost two out of three of the stations reported a shortage of bullet-proof vests,
- the same number reported a shortage of weapons, handcuffs and radios,
- three-quarters of the stations had a vehicle shortage, and
- half reported a shortage of working space and office equipment.
Among the more startling statistics contained in the DA document is a shortage of 116 bullet-proof vests among officers at the Temba police station in Gauteng, and a shortage of 52 vehicles at the Queenstown station in the Eastern Cape.
The Sandton police station was found to be short of “handcuffs, torches, pepper spray, first aid kits for vehicles, road block equipment and blue lights”. It also needed a further 11 bullet-proof vests, and another 34 vehicles to operate efficiently.
One police station -- Manenberg, in the Western Cape -- received a glowing report in the DA survey.
“There were no shortages identified at Manenberg police station, which illustrates that it is possible... to effectively manage stock and personnel issues.”
Responding to a question, Kohler-Barnard said morale in the SAPS was “extremely low”. Police officers, she said, felt “under-appreciated”.