Community crime fighters in Table View are unhappy about the “frequent” closures of the Parklands police station due to staff shortages.
Table View Neighbourhood Watch spokeswoman Lee McBride said the repeated closures of the satellite station were “a real problem for the community”.
The station, she said, drew a lot of “foot traffic” and the closures could have far-reaching effects.
“This is likely to result in crimes not being reported,which will cause our crime figures to artificially drop, which would negatively impact SAPS resources allocated to our area.”
Police stations were also meant to be safe havens for crime victims, said Ms McBride.
“Can you imagine how you would feel if you were running from a dangerous situation, only to be met by a closed and locked door at the place you are supposed to receive help?” said Ms McBride.
“This situation has been ongoing for six months or more, and twice we were supposed to receive new SAPS personnel who would mean that Parklands SAPS could be kept open. These dates have come and gone and it seems that Parklands SAPS is now closed more often than ever before.”
In a statement on social media on Saturday April 1, the Table View Community Police Forum (CPF) said it was “very unhappy” with the closures.
“The CPF fought a long battle with the provincial SAPS to keep Parklands SAPS functional, when they wanted to close it down.
“We were assured that the satellite station would remain open and that additional SAPS services would be added,” said the CPF.
The forum said 20 more officers were due to have been deployed to Table View in January to ease a chronic staff shortage in the precinct.
“These members have been deployed to other areas, and we cannot get a satisfactory answer as to when the new members will be arriving in Table View.”
In an email to the CPF, the watch and the Table View Ratepayers’ Association, Table View police spokeswoman Captain Adriana Chandler, stressed that there were no plans to close the station permanently.
She said due to “manpower-related issues” the station had been closed for “a few hours” recently.
“The management of Table View police station is aware of the importance to keep the doors of Parklands police station open,” she said, but noted that in “very few circumstances” it would be “non operational” because of staff shortages.
“The police station will not be permanently closed,” she said.
Parklands resident Violet Ncube told Tabletalk that the community relied on the station.
“The area is crime-infested, and we need the station open all the time, not just when they have manpower. Many people can’t get to the Table View station to lay charges or report crimes.”
The CPF voiced this sentiment in its statement: “Parklands SAPS is vital to our community, in particular to the members of our community who rely on public transport. It is unreasonable to expect members of our community to walk to the Table View SAPS to report crime as this is a safety issue. The result is that crime reporting will not take place in these circumstances.
“The CPF’s responsibility is to ensure that the policing needs of our community are adequately catered for and this is not the case at the moment. While crime is down this is due to the unique community partnerships that we have in supporting our SAPS, with armed response companies, neighbourhood watches, street committees and the CPF all coming together for the security of Table View.”
Tabletalk sent questions to the Table View CPF and to Community Safety MEC Dan Plato but neither responded by the time this edition went to press.