Monday, July 20, 2009

Ekurhuleni MPD trash new fleet


Driving into ditches, crashing into stationery cars, bumping into barriers, canopies, walls, rocks, trees, gates, pavements, lamp posts, running over pedestrians, tailgating, firing into petrol tanks, looting car parts, reckless parking, or reversing into other EMPD cars, it's all in a day's fun for the metro police.

The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) clocked up 225 car accidents in a year. More than half of the damaged and/or stripped vehicles are part of an R88-million fleet of brand new Jettas and 4X4s.

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Taxpayers paid R88-million for a new fleet of cars for the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department but a damning report on the treatment of the vehicles has forced the department to admit it is time for officers to go back to advanced driving school. (Advanced driving school???? )

The Star is in possession of a list of every incident involving an EMPD car between July 2008 and June 2009, a period the officers spent shooting at their own petrol tanks, reversing into each other, stealing car parts, crashing into walls and driving into ditches.

In total, 225 incidents are recorded, of which 110 are attributed to officer negligence, 111 are said to be the fault of members of the public and four remain undetermined.

During the period, 89 disciplinary hearings were held and six members sent for retraining in either driving or shooting. (No shooting and driving, dja'hear?)

There are 184 officers named in the incidents - out of a total of about 970 EMPD members - of which 32 were involved in two accidents each.

Two were responsible for three incidents.

The EMPD has admitted that the numbers are "disturbingly high" and are of "great concern", but stressed that a fresh round of training would start in a month.

EMPD spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilfred Kgasago said 130 cars had been damaged. He said most officers had undergone advanced driving training but were in need of refresher courses.




Of the 225 incidents, more than half - 125 - involved vehicles from the new fleet.

At least 39 crashes involved driving into ditches, crashing into stationery cars, bumping into barriers, canopies, walls, rocks, trees, gates, pavements, lamp posts, hitting pedestrians, parking badly, or reversing into other EMPD cars.

The list details several serious head-on accidents and others caused by high-speed chases.

But most were relatively minor, caused by skipping red robots, changing lanes or not allowing for enough following distance. (Serious enough to lock up a whitey for a bit of fun before you kill him.)

There are seven cases in which officers failed to report damage and 23 cases are still being investigated.

In some incidents, officers took cars without permission and damaged them - one officer used an official vehicle while off duty and under the influence of alcohol.

There are at least three cases where misuse of firearms caused damage to the cars.

These included the petrol tank of a car being shot at accidentally.

One case, in November last year, shows officers being caught swapping new car parts for old ones.

Some cases are bizarre, such as "officer negligent when towing vehicle, failed to hook properly, private vehicle fell off, damaging tow truck and two private vehicles".

Others are straightforward: "officer ignored red robot and collided with lamp pole".

The EMPD has not had a permanent police chief since Robert McBride was fired more than nine months ago.
(So he's coming back.)

Interviews were due to have taken place on Friday.

The fleet of 500 new VW Jettas and 4 x4s gathered dust in a parking lot for about six months.

Following reports in The Star, the fleet was released to the officers from October onwards.

DA community safety spokeswoman Michele Clarke said the accidents had sparked civil claims against the metro and could cost millions of rands. She called on the EMPD to send officers for training immediately.

"This report is proof that they (the EMPD) are a rule unto themselves. There is no discipline and they do as they like," she said.

Kgasago said that 15 instructors were being taught to be driving trainers at the EMPD academy.

"I luv e'femtiv ekshun"

"We are looking at a month or so before the trainers qualify."

During McBride's trial, three former EMPD officers testified that the department was "rotten to the core" with everything from rigged promotions to officers driving around in impounded cars.

6 Opinion(s):

WHITEADDER said...

What would be interesting to know is how the cops vehicle usage -
number of cars and km driven in a particular timeframe - compares against the car usage by normal, fully insured private people.
I am sure some stats might be avaiable through insurance companies. I have a funny feeling that the results would indicate far worse abuse than we suspect at first glance.

Dachshund said...

@Whiteadder: If you can get that info, I'll put it up like a shot.

Ranger Tom said...

Jeezus! I remember once while I was still on the force getting the fender dinged on my cruiser.

A small, roughly 5CM crease...

I was given 4 days off without pay, even though it wasn't my fault.

Vanilla Ice said...

@RT. Ha ha. It reminds me of a time, back in 1987, when I was a member of the Flying Squad. I rolled a squad car (what you call a cruiser), whilst power sliding around a corner in the middle of Soweto (a black and hostile area). I was suspended as a driver for about a month, and had to do admin work instead. I must admit we were hard on the vehicles, so I can't comment on today's behaviour. We had normal patrol vehicles, which were like enclosed UVs (What we call bakkies), then we had a rapid response division called flying squad, who had faster vehicles and were despatched on "in progess" complaints.

Doberman said...

Ha ha ha! Police Academy stuff. And what's with "firing into petrol tanks", wtf?

Anonymous said...

"Shooting at their own petrol tanks". Sounds to me like they're trying to get the car to explode, like you see on TV. These mindless, child-like retards are our POLICE!? God help us.