Sunday, 20 August 2006

An (ex) Police Reservist Speaks

This was originally posted as a comment but it is so good that it deserves greater prominence:

As a former Police reservist, I too used to be oh so positive, bright-eyed & bushy tailed like your "I'm up to my neck in pig shit but can't smell a damned thing" correspondent here.

During my eight years of service, the SAPS purposely made things difficult for reservists. As competent, motivated white cops left the force in droves, the complexion at my former station grew darker with their AA replacements.

Finally Sipho was appointed as Station Commander, and the first thing he did was to take away our bullet-proof vests. Then he started refusing us access to our SAPS-issue fire-arms and even radios, claiming he didn't "have enough" while everyone knew the safe contained adequate supplies.

We had meetings with him, partcularly when an on-duty reservist was shot dead (he would have lived had he worn a vest) and came away convinced that this man held a deep-seated, burning hatred for all whites, which he didn't hide very well.

But we soldiered on, acting on tip-offs from informants & the community at large and arresting violent criminals.

The final straw came when we obtained info on a car theft & hijack syndicate operating in Midrand. Previously, some members of this gang had been arrested, only to have their dockets disappear, or their members released mysteriously within 12 hours of arrest.

We received info on the location of this gang, with the snitch also listing names of officers from that station being actively involved with the gang.

The Station commander called us in, accused us of usurping his powers, and forbade us from acting on the info. He said that us white reservists only arrested blacks. When we pointed out that the overwhelming majority of criminals in this precinct were black, he exploded in a rage.

Incredibly, he then went on a tirade about how black people suffered while us white people lived like kings and the meeting ended rather acrimoniously.

He was later overheard making enquiries about the ID of the snitch, which was unusual. The crunch came when, ten days later, the snitch turned up dead, stabbed, beaten and his body dumped next to a major highway. I and seven other reservists resigned en masse.

To this day, I'm told the hijacking gang operates with impunity, having murdered numerous victims. Sipho the SC has been under investigation for two years, but nothing has come of it.

I know of similar cases at other police stations, especially in the Pretoria area. Last year, more than 30 reservists resigned from the Lynnwood station, also citing obstruction, and refused access to vests for no reason.

More and more, decent and duty-bound black police members are either being side-lined or even murdered by dirty cops. At this point, there are more corrupt cops than good ones. I'm convinced that especially white reservists are being pushed out to make way for members of criminal gangs, this article proves it.

This is becoming commonplace as the SAPS is increasingly being politicised and even criminalised.

So by all means, go answer phones, sweep floors or wash cop cars if it gets your rocks off. But don't be so naive to think you're making a positive contribution, as you're just being a airhead arsehole. The truth is horrifying - I have seen it first-hand, and I'm leaving for good.

God help those who cannot escape.

Brian H

Source: Why South Africa is Crap Blog

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I sympathise totally. I too am an ex-reservist with 8 years service. I signed up at a station on the outskirts of Alexandra Township on Louis Botha Avenue, with my brother. We had an enthusiastic group of members and racked up a really impressive arrest record. It was'nt long though before I discovered how bad things were. Many permanent members were at best negligent in their duties and at worst downright criminal. Many nights we walked into the client service centre(charge office) to find the entire shift asleep with the lights off. Very responsible for a station situated on the outskirts of Alexandra township. I can't begin to tell you the amount of times arrest dockets went 'missing', and I can't begin to explain the arrogance and intolerance we faced from the permanent members, many of them white. I could'nt understand it - here we were doing an extremely dangerous job, to help reduce their workload and to make a difference in the community, for free, and yet have to endure comments like 'weekend warriors' and 'hobbymakers'. There were a few times we were threatened with assault but were forbidden to realiate so as not to further sour relations. Many of the permanent members were under investigation for offences ranging from theft to murder but continued on with their normal duties, with access to fire-arms and SAPS euipment. I, and other, reservists were involved in a few shootings in Alexandra township, every time against armed criminals,and every time, instead of supporting us, the ranking officers concerned did everything possible to try and get us charged with murder or attempted murder. When my brother and our captain drove into seven armed hi-jackers in Kew their car was riddled with bullets. They were lucky to escape with there lives, and actually managed to shoot and capture some of the assailants. You would expect a modicum of respect and gratitude from fellow police officers and certainly from members of the community. Yeah right! At the next Police Community forum meeting I attended, not one member of the Police and not one member of the community forum asked me how my brother was after his close call. Instead the community forum members fumed at how the vehicle had been damaged and how their fund would probably have to cough up to repair it. So you'll understand why I regard them and the whole situation with the utmost bitterness and resentment. I'm sitting here trying to think of a list of all the other grievences, but there are just too many and I can feel myself getting worked up just thinking about all that shit again. So I'll just say it all came to a head when we too got a new station commander. In our case it was a white female officer. She had been told to increase the security of the station. Her solution was to strip the reservists of most of our equipment and our fire-arms, in spite of the fact that not one reservist fire-arm had ever been 'lost' or 'stolen' while I was there. She told us quite plainly that reservists were not to be trusted. When we pointed out all the shortcomings of the permanent members she said since we had known about it and it was still going on we were too gutless to do anything about it. This in spite of us complaining about the situation almost non stop. So in her eyes the lack of discipline in the station was our responsiblity not hers. When asked about that, by a superior officer, at a later stage she blatantly lied and denied she had said anything like that at all. When we pointed out that numerous permanent force weapons had gone missing and nothing was being done about this we were told to mind our own business. She quite obviously was too weak to do anything about all the POPCRU members, but the reservists were easy pickings. It was at about this point that I told the bitch to stick the whole thing you-know-where and walked out. As someone who knows what he's talking about I strongly advise people to have nothing to do with the police reservists. Trust me, it's nothing but heartache and misery. I have now left South Africa and there's not a day that goes by that I don't mourn for a country that had the utmost potential but ended up a hell-hole run by ignorant savages with no sense of reponsibility or work ethic.