Action Society calls for investigation behind Flying Squads’ failing radio communication systems

Action Society has been approached by members of various units in the South African Police Service (SAPS) who informed us that they are experiencing significant problems with their radio communication systems. According to Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society, the problem is a national one and it has become a common practice for police members to use their personal cell phones, at their own cost, to communicate with each other.

“Shockingly, but not surprisingly, the issues have been reported to commanding officers, but there is still no feedback on what will be done to rectify the situation,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society. “One of the units that are severely affected is the Western Cape Flying Squad. In areas such as Delft, Gugulethu, and Khayelitsha the Flying Squad are usually deployed to active scenes first. Reliable communication for a unit like this, really can be the difference between life and death, especially if you consider how understaffed police offices in these areas are already.

Action Society wrote to the Provincial Commissioner, the South African Police Service and the Western Cape province, demanding an urgent investigation into a critical collapse of the Western Cape Flying Squad’s radio communication systems.

“We are deeply concerned with the growing number of problems faced by the Western Cape Flying Squad and other units of the South African Police Service. The consequences of insufficient capacity and mismanaged resources can be seen in our country’s crime statistics.”

“When I see Bheki Cele again, I will ask him why he is sending good cops into warzone-like scenes blind. I will tell him he is sending his police officers to their deaths and he should be too ashamed to visit slain police officers’ families. I will ask the police officers in Delft to tell me if they feel well equipped to do their jobs. I wonder if he will tell me to shut up again?”

We will keep the pressure on The Western Cape provincial office of the South African Police Service until the problem is addressed.

Image: Lens Envy | FLICKR

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