Spotlight on inequality of police resources

The Social Justice Coalition held a protest outside Sea Point police station.

There were three murders in the Sea Point policing precinct last year, while, in Harare, Khayelitsha, there were 166. Despite this, Sea Point has more than four times as many police per capita than Harare does.

This was the one of the reasons the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) protested outside the Sea Point police station last week.

Dalli Weyers, senior researcher of the SJC’s Safety and Justice Programme, said: “A comparison between Sea Point and Harare, Khayelitsha, makes the numbers behind the police resources case tangible.”

Before the picket on Wednesday, the SJC, Equal Education (EE) and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) held an information session to update interested parties on the Police Resource Allocation case.

“Sadly the campaign and court process on this matter have been ongoing for years.”

Mr Weyers said that in March last year, the SJC and Equal Education launched the application to address “the ongoing inequitable, irrational and discriminatory allocation of the police’s human resources across the 1 140 police precincts in South Africa”.

“The court application was made in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000. In September 2016 the Nyanga CPF was given leave to intervene alongside the applicants.”

Mr Weyers said the matter was set to be heard on August 17, 21 and 22, and that all affidavits had now been filed by the parties.

“The SJC, along with partner organisations campaigned for the commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha.

“The commission released its findings and recommendations in August 2014. Recommendation 7 highlighted the issue of police resourcing and compared the allocation to an apartheid list, where the least resourced precincts were black African communities,” Mr Weyers said.

“The recommendations however aren’t binding and SAPS has refused to address the findings and that has compelled us to take legal action,” he added.

Mr Weyers said that during the exploratory phase of the court case, the applicants had been able to access data showing the allocation of SAPS’ human resources to all 1 140 police precincts around the country.

These statistics, he said, showed how areas with less violent crime, which were well-resourced, were largely white and wealthy.

“The allocation of police resources is irrational and discriminatory. We’re not asking for more resources but for the current resources to be re-allocated”.

Western Cape SAPS spokesperson, Colonel Andre Traut, when asked about the protest, said police management in the Western Cape were “acutely aware of any demands in terms of policing in this province”.

“Therefore plans are put in place for the deployment of human and physical resources, and the provincial commissioner and his management team visit stations regularly to monitor the implementation of these plans,” he added.