Specialised drug unit disbanded
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DURBAN - THE Durban Flying Squad’s G6 Narcotics Unit has been disbanded, leaving anti-drug activists in Chatsworth and Phoenix furious.
The unit, which has been running since 2011, was disbanded in February with no explanation to its members. They have now been absorbed into performing usual Flying Squad duties.
Two of the unit’s core focus areas were Chatsworth and Phoenix. The two areas remain at the top of the national crime statistics table for the most drug-related cases.
The Chatsworth Anti-Drug Forum chairperson, Sam Pillay, said it was unacceptable that a successful unit, which had made a positive difference in the community, was disbanded for no good reason.
He said there was a need for more specialised drug units in the province as local police stations were not equipped to deal with drug-related issues.
“We know this unit made a difference in the community because drug dealers feared them. Now that they are no more, drug dealers and runners who know about their closure are probably celebrating.”
Pillay said he believed local police stations were not equipped to deal with the intelligence behind the narcotics trade, which was why a unit like the G6 was important.
“They were an immediate response unit known to have had many successes. The community needs a unit like this on the ground all the time so that we can move forward with the fight against drugs in Chatsworth. They instilled fear and that’s what we needed,” he said.
Nash Singh, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Local Drug Action Committee, said it was upsetting to note the closure of the unit and he believed it had been “captured”.
“Whenever we have successful units, some sort of interference, usually political, occurs. Why close units that are benefiting society and when we can see the impact they are making?”
He said that, without specialised drug units, the drug trade would flourish and endanger children’s lives.
The move came despite President Jacob Zuma saying in his State of the Nation address this year that more specialised units would be established to focus on drug-related crime.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the Flying Squad Narcotics Task Team was set up for a specific purpose and period.
“These members are deployed within the Flying Squad to deal with emerging serious crime threats, as well as SAPS priorities in terms of our operational plan.
“There are many other members at station, unit and provincial level who deal with drug matters,” said Naicker.
He said they had to keep in step with the SAPS back-to-basics approach to policing.
“We are committed to ensuring there is enhanced police visibility; efficient use of resources; targeted and informed deployment of operational resources; and a collaborative, consultative approach to policing,” said Naicker.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula was in Chatsworth this week at the Police Training Academy to launch the reinforcement of the Provincial Project Task Team.