Still no word on shortage of police vehicles at elite units

Gareth Wilson

EASTERN Cape police management yesterday remained mum on the investigation into the crippling shortage of vehicles at Port Elizabeth’s K9 and Flying Squad units.

This comes two weeks after provincial police boss General Cynthia Binta ordered an investigation into the vehicle situation at both of the elite units following senior management’s complaints that they had insufficient vehicles to function.

Members in both units confirmed that the vehicle situation was bordering on critical, with the K9 unit only having three vehicles – one of which was taken from the training division – and the Flying Squad also having three cars, one of which has a blown cylinder head.

The units – which serve the entire Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounding areas – had a combined fleet of 15 vehicles about a year ago. Now some are awaiting repairs in the police garage and others have been scrapped. None have been replaced.

Binta’s spokeswoman, Brigadier Marinda Mills, said last month a team from provincial police head office had been sent to both units to evaluate the situation and to intervene if necessary.

Yesterday, Mills said: “We have dispatched a senior officer from the provincial head office to the K9 unit and Flying Squad situated in Port Elizabeth in order to determine the situation in relation to the allocation of vehicles, their physical condition and availability. The visit took place on January 30.

“This office has only been able to make contact with the officer this afternoon due to urgent commitments from his side.

“He indicated that he is in the process of filing his report to the provincial commissioner, which includes recommendations.”

Mills said police would not comment on the findings until Binta had looked at the report.

This comes six months after the Eastern Cape legislature released a damning report revealing a crumbling police force with vehicle shortages and lack of manpower at 10111 call centres.

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