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Number of people who have escaped from police custody in the Western Cape questioned

According to the SAPS, seven detainees had escaped from police vehicles in the Blue Downs, Eden, Nyanga, Cape Town, Vredenburg, Wynberg and Worcester clusters. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

According to the SAPS, seven detainees had escaped from police vehicles in the Blue Downs, Eden, Nyanga, Cape Town, Vredenburg, Wynberg and Worcester clusters. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

Published Jun 22, 2022

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Cape Town - Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen says police have so far rearrested at least 21 detainees who escaped from police custody between January and May this year.

Allen obtained the figures from the SAPS in response to questions from former community safety, cultural affairs and sport standing committee spokesperson Ricardo Mackenzie.

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Allen revealed that according to the SAPS, seven detainees had escaped from police vehicles in the Blue Downs, Eden, Nyanga, Cape Town, Vredenburg, Wynberg and Worcester clusters.

One detainee had escaped from a police holding cell and three from physical police detention facilities. He said of the aforementioned escapees, 21 were rearrested, for which the SAPS had opened criminal cases.

“When a suspect escapes from police custody, an investigation is launched into the circumstances. If the police officer has been negligent, disciplinary steps will be taken against him or her.

“All the above cases, which were referred for an internal disciplinary hearing, are still pending,” Allen said.

Police spokesperson Andre Traut said: “For every escape from lawful custody, an investigation is launched by SAPS into the circumstances. Depending on the finding of the investigation, decisive action gets taken.”

Mackenzie said he had posed the questions to ultimately figure out why there had been an uptake in the number of incidents in the province.

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He said: "Yes, these incidents happen in different clusters, but there have been rumours that the same officers are involved, so we are trying to build a track to find out if these criminals are being aided in the system and who the individuals aiding them are.”

Mackenzie said he’ll be asking follow-up questions on the matter to understand the threat to the criminal justice system.

“I will be looking at cases for the same period two years ago, inclusive of prosecutions or dismissals of individuals involved, the number of correctional services officials involved, seniority of all officials involved and criminal action, not just disciplinary action involved.

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“We need to understand who is being held accountable and find out what SAPS is doing to address these incidents,” Mackenzie said.

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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