No sign of Durban mounted patrols

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police horses


File pictcure: Constable Jeff Gunter with Baroness, Emperor, Eli and Argentina, which are among the metro polices equestrian unit horses. PICTURE: GCINA NDWLANE

Durban - There are still no mounted patrols on the Durban beachfront despite the fact that the festive season is almost in full swing.

The Daily News reported in October that grooms from New Market Stables, who have been tending to the horses for years, were recalled after the municipality failed to pay for their services.

Although staff were hired to clean out the stables, they had no grooming experience and the duty fell to the metro police, cutting into their time on patrol duty.

Last month metro police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi, said funds had been released for the employment of grooms, but a source said there were still no grooms available.

The source said that overtime pay, which would have allowed for double shifts, freeing up one shift to perform mounted patrols, had also not been agreed to.

Msomi said:

“The city has hired individuals to be trained as grooms and should commence training soon,” he said.

“The metro police unit is devising a plan to ensure that experienced riders assist in grooming and then take turns patrolling until grooms are available.”

Msomi said the city viewed the unit as an important part of the metro police department, particularly during the festive season, when they are deployed in crowded areas.

City manager, Sbu Sithole, said overtime was being cut where possible because it was costly to the city. However, the lack of patrols would not affect the security plans.

“The operational plans aren’t dependent on the horses. All plans are already in motion,” he said.

DA councillor, Heinz de Boer, said there was something “rotten” within the metro police unit and that the horse and dog units were both in crisis.

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