Eastern Cape police step up security at stations

The SA Police Service in the Eastern Cape says it has prioritised security problems at a number of police stations.

The SA Police Service in the Eastern Cape says it has prioritised security problems at a number of  police stations.

Provincial police were responding to the Police Prisons and Civil Rights Union (Popcru), which wanted feedback on calls made to strengthen police stations’ security systems.

Police spokesperson Col Sibongile Soci said there had been regular interaction with labour unions.

“The security of all the stations remains a priority for SAPS management.”

She said there were systematic processes and procedures to follow in upgrading the stations.

“It is also important to note that not all stations are the sole responsibility of the SAPS … some are the responsibility of the department of public works.”

The Dispatch reported at the weekend that a number of stations in the province had been targets of criminals, with firearms being taken. At many rural police stations, officers were at high risk of being robbed of their firearms.

A recent incident at Mthatha’s Madeira police station, where a woman was shot dead, allegedly by her husband, prompted Popcru to voice its concerns.

When the shooting happened in Mthatha, police hid under tables in the station’s community service centre.

Popcru provincial chair Loyiso Mdingi said it was time for the police management to take action.

“Police members’ lives are at risk,” said Mdingi.

Soci said the SAPS and public works were working together to ensure that all stations received the necessary attention in terms of improving security.

“Some have already been done, while the work is progressing well in others.

“The Eastern Cape is finalising installation of screens in the community service centres [at the stations].

“As part of this plan, minor security upgrades at community service centres are being attended to.”

Soci said many police stations already had CCTV cameras installed.

“This project commenced in 2018 and will continue during this financial year.

“On the other hand, the department of public works is assisting in ensuring that perimeter and security lighting are in a good working condition at all times.”

On the issue of personal safety of the police members, Soci said there were adequate bulletproof vests available to ensure the personal safety of members.

“Members are constantly encouraged to adhere to these measures for their personal safety.

“All this must be seen as a commitment and sense of urgency on the part of management to ensure the safety of officers and SAPS institutions comes first.”

By Bongani Fuzile

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