Parliament raises concerns over SAPS safety plan in light of new attacks

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, has expressed serious concern about the effectiveness of the safety strategy of the South African Police Services at station level following Saturday's attack at a police station in Kareedouw in the Eastern Cape.  

"It is concerning that criminals have become so brazen that police stations, institutions at the centre of the fight against crime, are being targeted as playgrounds for the commitment of crimes.

"It is also concerning that police firearms stolen at the station will add to the pool of firearms to be used in criminal activities," said Beukman. 

News24 understands that four armed suspects stole two R5 rifles, as well as three 9mm pistols from a safe after holding up the officer on duty in the latest incident. 

READ: Huge manhunt after Kareedouw police station robbed of firearms

The committee also noted that the latest robbery happened, despite assurances given by SAPS management earlier this year that safety at police stations would be upgraded.

Police management also gave an undertaking that there would be necessary training to prevent such attacks.

“There are clearly shortcomings in the implementation in the plan, and police management will have to account for this failure” Beukman emphasised.

The committee has for some time now called for the rethinking of police station safety and the integration of technology to effectively combat crime.

While the committee is cognisant of the long-term nature of incorporating IT into the security strategy, it had called for urgent steps in dealing with this seemingly growing trend.

The committee welcomed the announcement confirming the activation of units to track and apprehend the perpetrators of this crime, saying the retrieval of the firearms stolen was of the foremost importance.

Beukman said the committee would, upon the restart of the term of Parliament, ask the SAPS management to give an update on all attacks at police stations and progress in preventing this worrying trend.