Metro police raise concerns over lack of PPE
DURBAN - METRO Police officers say there has been added pressure on police officers to prosecute transgressions of the Disaster Management Act since the country moved to an adjusted level 3.
According to the lockdown alert level 3 regulations, police officers are expected to charge people, including motorists and passengers, for not wearing a mask in public.
However, some metro officers complained that there had been very little thought into putting protocols in place when prosecuting someone for not wearing a mask when they themselves were not properly protected.
Metro officers who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the last time they were supplied with a single cloth mask was six months ago.
They felt it would be more appropriate for them to have masks to provide to the public before interacting with them. Instead, they said an officer has to carry out the process of charging people while exposing themselves to the virus.
“A cloth mask and a bottle of sanitiser is all we are armed with against the deadly Covid- 19 virus. We are not supplied with gloves,” said another officer.
ethekwini Metro Police head Steve Middleton, however, denied the allegation that officers were last supplied with masks six months ago.
Another officer complained of the health hazard of physically handling a licence card when checking a driving licence.
He said while they could sanitise things like pens after every exchange of use with a motorist, it was impossible to sanitise things like the summons book.
“Science tells us the virus is capable of surviving on paper for up to five days.
“This is of great concern as once a summons is issued, the control copy goes between many hands from the collection box to numerous captures, and it finally ends up in court where it is handled again,” said the officer.
He said when an officer is diagnosed with Covid- 19 at his station, the station is not closed for proper deep cleaning
“However, because of little thought and pressure from management to charge and inflate statistics, metro police has become an effective mover of the virus.”
Middleton said the feedback was that metro police had enough masks and sanitisers in the regions.
“There is no doubt that we take the safety of our members very strongly and we do all we can under the circumstances to protect them.
“Anything to do with PPE, we rely on the supply chain of the city to provide us. Over the weekend, I managed to get a donation of 10 000 masks that are in the process of being distributed.
“With regard to infections, all areas where infected people have worked are closed and cleaned,” he said.