Drastically scaled-down force at least step in right direction – mayor
Nelson Mandela Bay will have a scaled-down metro police force, consisting of just 14 members initially, within two weeks. Twenty-six others are on a course. While acknowledging that 14 metro cops would not make much of an impact on crime, mayor Athol Trollip said it was at least a step in the right direction.
The 14 officers, who had all been screened and qualified for the job, would be sworn in by acting metro cop boss Arlin Robile within the next two weeks, he said at a media briefing at the South End fire station yesterday.
“There are 14 metro police officers who are trained and compliant and able to be deployed,” Trollip said.
“They are not deployed yet because we need to sort out human resources issues and their contracts, and they need to be sworn in.”
The small contingent is a big change from the 78 officers who were paraded outside the City Hall in May, when then-mayor Danny Jordaan announced a R225-million budget for the force and said 78 letters of appointment had been handed over to acting metro police officers.
The metro police project, which has stalled several times, has been on the cards since 2002.
“I am the first to admit that 14 metro police officers are not going to have an extraordinary impact in combating crime, but it is a step in the right direction,” Trollip said.
Safety and security political head John Best said that, once sworn in, the officers would be operating from two precincts in Greenbushes and KwaNobuhle.
“These officers have exactly the same powers as the police, [so] when we took office we stalled the process so that we could get everybody legal,” he said.
“The officers the mayor is talking about all comply in terms of the law. “After they are sworn in, they will have arresting powers.”
Trollip and Best said the city hoped to have 50 metro police officers on the streets within 100 days of the new administration taking over.
“There are currently 26 officers who are on a course and there are 13 with whom we are still dealing on compliance issues,” Best said.
He said the 14 officers had all been declared competent to carry firearms. “They comply with all the legal requirements, including using firearms.”