Police chiefs must stand up for stolen firearms – DA

Henry

The South African police are once again coming under criticism after around 15 firearms were reportedly stolen from the police station on Mitchells Plain – one of the most dangerous areas in South Africa.

The DA said on Tuesday that senior leaders in the police service must stand up for police offices’ gross failures to keep evidence – especially firearms – safe.

According to reports, around 15 firearms and eight imitation firearms were stolen from Mitchells Plain Police Station in November last year. Moreover, this is not the first time that firearms have been stolen from this police station.

“According to reports, the firearms were stolen from the station’s SAP-13 storage room, where evidence that is part of active investigations is stored. This means that these firearms are not only back on the street, but that critical evidence is also gone,” said Gillion Bosman, the DA’s spokesperson on community safety in the Western Cape.

Bosman now wants to know why the necessary protocol was not introduced to prevent such an incident, and if there were guidelines, the police must say why they were not applied.

“On a broader level, this incident is once again proof of the complete dysfunction that has become unique to the police service. It also provides insight into why the DA continuously advocates for the devolution of police forces.

“This incident could have been prevented if there had been an environment of accountability and professionalism.”

Bosman says it is also worrying that the theft has only now been made public. He believes this indicates that someone wanted to shut up the incident.

Col. AndrĂ© Traut, Western Cape police spokesperson, told RNews when asked that the incident forms part of a police investigation, and that “discussing the finer details of the case in the public sphere is premature and not in our best interest”. .

Meanwhile, the DA requests that the senior management team of the Mitchells Plain police be suspended pending this investigation – as in the case when 14 firearms disappeared from the same police station in 2017.

“The party is furious that the police are allowing firearms to end up on the streets again, and saddened by the possible consequences of this gross management failure.”

Police criminals ‘biggest supplier’

Ian Cameron, director of community safety at the pressure group Action Society, told RNews that the police are probably crime networks’ “biggest supplier of firearms”.

“This is a blatant shame, especially for a station like Mitchells Plain. Mitchells Plain is known as one of the most dangerous areas in the country – especially in terms of gang violence.”

Cameron says it has become “normal” to stand at a school in Mitchells Plain and hear gunshots ringing in the background.

“As far as I am concerned, the station commander and any other commanders at this office should be charged with culpable homicide if any murders are committed with one of these stolen firearms.

“I really think there should be criminal consequences for police officers who allow firearms to be lost. This is something that is happening all over the country.”