Durban - Police have launched an investigation into two Umbilo policemen who were photo-graphed, in uniform, buying alcohol on New Year’s Eve.
The policemen reportedly arrived at a liquor outlet in Umbilo in a marked police van and bought ciders and brandy from the store.
When confronted by a Glenwood resident, the policemen dared the resident to take pictures of them.
Ricardo, who runs a business in Umbilo and who did not want his surname published, said he was buying drinks at a liquor outlet in Umbilo Road when the two officers walked in just after 5pm on News Year’s Eve.
“I asked them why were they buying alcohol in full uniform and they became very rude,” he said yesterday.
“The one officer said I must not worry about them as they were off duty. If they were off duty why were they in full uniform with their guns in their holsters and driving a marked police van?” he asked.
Ricardo said he told the officers that what they were doing was wrong and said he would take pictures of them.
“They told me to go ahead and the sergeant called his colleague and said I must take a picture of both of them. I don’t have a problem with police buying alcohol in their private time but they should show respect for the uniform at all times. They cannot go around doing things like that.”
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said it was definitely against police policy for any members to buy alcohol in full uniform.
“The matter will be investigated internally and steps will be taken against those responsible,” he said.
Ben Madokwe, chairman of the Umbilo CPF, called on the police to launch an investigation into the incident.
“I will be meeting the station commander of Umbilo as well as the cluster commander where I will discuss this. This is totally unacceptable. Under no circumstances are police allowed to buy alcohol in uniform, whether they are on duty or off.
“Also why are they drinking when they know they are probably going to be on duty the next day? This is the time of the year when we need our police to be fully alert – and for them definitely not to come on duty with a hangover.”
He added it was unacceptable for police officers to use a state vehicle to buy alcohol.
“Those vehicles are meant to catch criminals. Under no circumstances must one be used for personal things.
“Whether those officers were on duty or off duty I am not sure. But if they were using a police vehicle to buy alcohol, it is something that we will never approve of.”