State of the station

Lentegeur police station commander, Colonel Herman Seals, speaks to Woodlands resident, Anthea van der Vent.

Morale is low at Lentegeur police station and residents do not have much faith that their cries for help are being heard.

These were the views aired at a police community imbizo at Princeton High School, in Woodlands, on Tuesday March 13.

Lentegeur police station commander, Colonel Herman Seals, said the five-year-old police station was understaffed and under-resourced.

The police station has jurisdiction over five policing sectors. There is only one cell number – 082 378 9294 – to call for urgent assistance.

Each sector commander does not have a state-supplied cellphone and there are only three police vehicles available.

Latiefa Jardine, who is on the Community Police Forum’s Lentegeur East sub-forum, said since being elected to the sub-forum she had been inundated with calls for help.

“The residents want visibility. Once they see the police more they will have more confidence and perhaps then we can understand the constraints,” she said.

Geraldine de Villiers, from Woodridge, complained that police had not been trained to deal with complaints sensitively.

Describing what happened when she called the police to report a stranger in her yard, Ms De Villiers said: “A police van pulled up. The police officers spoke to the person, who was in my yard. The police then knocked on my door and asked ‘Was die die * **s wie in jou jard was’,” she said.

“You can’t bring a criminal to my door,” she said.

Ms De Villiers added: “You are the guys in uniform. You have the power to serve the community.”

Colonel Seals also called on residents to report matters to the police station and if they were not satisfied, to meet with him.

The Plainsman sent questions to Police Minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson, Nonkululeko Phokane, who referred us to Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, section head of operational services relations; who then directed us to the provincial police media office.

The Plainsman also spoke to a police officer, who complained that station management was not listening to their concerns and that members were unable to do their jobs effectively because of the lack of resources.

This was put to all of the relevant police officers, but none replied.

The Plainsman also sent an email to Lentegeur police station spokesman, Constable Shaun Abrahams, who said that he could not answer questions about station operations, staff numbers and resources.

Initially, the imbizo had been scheduled to take place on March 1 but earlier that day there had been a shooting involving Lentegeur Sergeant Granville Brooks and Charmaine and Susan Goliath in their home in Begonia Street. It was alleged that on the night of Wednesday February 28, the 41-year-old detective sergeant, was involved in a domestic violence incident and was put out of the
house and disarmed of his gun.The next morning the sergeant was back at the house where he held his 27-year-old girlfriend and her 54-year-old mother hostage (“Killer cops gun was confiscated”, Plainsman, Date).

The Plainsman asked whether police officers received counselling, and specifically, after this incident.

Constable Abrahams said members had been debriefed by provincial social workers on the day of the incident and that sessions were still ongoing.

Michael Jacobs, deputy chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association, proposed that members elected by the CPF sub-forums help the police station to establish a CPF.

He said it was only with the help of the community that the police could combat crime.