Cape Town - Complaints against the police are on the increase, according to the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO).
WCPO spokesperson Deidré Foster said
since its inception in 2013, the
ombudsman’s office had handled over
2 000 complaints - growing from 83 in the first year to 433 in the last financial year.
Foster said the numbers had more than doubled from the last financial year, 2018/19, to this financial year, 2019/20.
“We believe there are a number of reasons for this, one being that through ongoing marketing and advertising efforts, along with outreach, more and more people are coming to know of the existence of the ombudsman’s office.
“We very often hear people saying that they do not trust the police. However, having said that, there is also huge responsibility placed on police officers, in that the public’s expectation of officers is sometimes exceeded by what the officials are able to do within the scope of their duties,” Foster said.
She, however, admitted that there were not enough awareness campaigns for communities, adding that the ombudsman was working on marketing and outreach efforts to educate communities about their rights when approaching police stations.
Delft Community Police Forum’s Charles George said over 80 complaints of police brutality had been reported to the forum in the area this year. “The increase in these complaints simply means there is no working relationship between the police and the communities.
“There is no trust in the police and their brand has been damaged by corruption and scandals,” he said.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the past financial year had not been “good” for the police in the Western Cape, with widespread gangsterism and infighting among management compromising their effectiveness.
Khayelitsha Cluster chairperson Francina Lukas said the 57 complaints recorded in the area in the 2018/19 financial year showed that more people were now informed about their rights and were taking the responsibility to ensure that they received the service they deserved from the police.
Safety and Security MEC Albert Fritz said: “I commend the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, Mr JJ Brand, and his team on the valuable work that they do.”