Metro under resourced, says Durban councillor

METRO Police are severely under resourced and overworked. That was the finding Chris Pappas, councillor for ward 31, discovered after he put a number of questions to council regarding the Suburbs Division of Metro Police.

Pappas said the high incidence of crime across the Berea and the ability of Metro officers to execute effective visible policing and bylaw enforcement with access to adequate resources, prompted him to question council on the state of the unit.

“As councillors, our sphere of government does not extend into the SAPS, however, Metro Police falls under the mandate of the Local Metropolitan Municipality which gives councillors greater oversight ability,” he said.

In response to his questions, Pappas said he discovered that currently, 125 metro officers are deployed to the Suburbs Division, but the optimum number of officers would be 365.

“This means that we only have 34 per cent of the actual number of Metro officers required to effectively fight crime. Coupled with the fact that officers are being used as personal security for some councillors, it is clear that we are working the current members beyond what is legally allowed,” he said.

As far as resources go, Pappas said he was informed that currently eight vehicles work per shift in the Suburbs Division, whereas the required amount it 78.

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“Again we can see that our Metro officers are highly under resourced with only 10 per cent of the vehicles they need available,” he said, adding that complaints had been received from metro officers who said they had not received new uniforms and boots for some time.

“I posed a question to Council asking when Metro Police last received new uniforms. The answer provided was that new uniforms are issued to officers on request,” he said.

With regard to the state of unused or broken vehicles, Pappas said he was informed that the city currently had 55 vehicles undergoing repairs with no vehicles sitting in storage.

“One of the biggest issues facing the Metro Police is the City’s failure to recruit new members and replace members who have left since 2009.”

“It is my hope that having run as a candidate in one of the Berea wards that the new Deputy Mayor and Chairperson of the Safety and Security Committee will address the concerns that our Metro Police face so that the Berea can once again be a safe place to live and raise families. We must set politics aside and work for the communities that have elected us to serve,” said Pappas.

Lauren Walford

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