Ex-cop ‘destroyed trust of the community’
A former Bay detective with the gang unit destroyed the trust built up between residents of the northern areas and the police when she kept silent about the whereabouts of a wanted gangster – a man alleged to have been her lover.
That was the word of former gang unit boss Mike Grobler, who was testifying in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Testifying in aggravation of sentencing, Grobler told the court how the actions of Alicia Beeming, 34, had an enormously negative effect on the unit as well as its relationship with the community.
Beeming pleaded guilty to defeating the ends of justice.
“[The day Beeming was arrested] is a day I will never forget for the rest of my career.
“The effect on the [gang] unit was enormous [and] the breaking of trust within the unit had an enormous effect on those left in the unit,” Grobler said.
The gang unit had been set up in November 2013 to combat the scourge of gangsterism in Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas with a mandate to investigate specific gang targets, Grobler said. “It was a secret unit and each member had to sign an oath of secrecy each month because members were prohibited from divulging any information to any other member of the SAPS, the public and their families as the information was classified.”
Beeming, who worked directly under Grobler, was an investigating officer of gang-related matters.
Her duties included research, gathering of information and investigations specifically related to the Upstand Dogs and Dustlives gangs.
“[Beeming] had insight into investigations which included particulars of witnesses and the accused and also strategies to address the gang problem in the northern areas.
“She was also involved in meetings when individual targets were discussed as well as operational methods of how to deal with them,” Grobler said.
Beeming joined the gang unit in April 2014 and following her arrest in 2016 all the cases she had been investigating were withdrawn.
“At the time [Beeming] was arrested and brought to court she was carrying dockets.
“All the cases she was involved with we had to withdraw as she was now contaminated as a credible witness.”
The consequences of Beeming withholding information about wanted gangster Hans Jordaan had been that the case against him was withdrawn and he was released from prison, Grobler said.
Jordaan, allegedly a high-ranking member of the Upstand Dogs, was wanted on a charge of attempted murder and had been on the run.
Beeming shielded him and withheld information about his whereabouts while police were actively looking for him.
According to Grobler, who was head of the gang unit for six years, the credibility of the unit was still an issue due to Beeming’s actions.
“From 2013 we tried to build a relationship with the community. Yes there is corruption in the SAPS, but not in the unit,” he said.
“When this [Beeming’s arrest] hit the media it destroyed that trust built up between the unit and the community.”
He said that in many instances members of the SAPS had relationships with gangsters or were in gang environments, which is still a major concern.
“These people mix after hours, which can cause the death of police members and also it’s the time when witnesses are discussed,” Grobler said.
The state did not call any further witnesses after Grobler and Beeming’s lawyer, Hennie Bence, did not lead any witnesses.
The prosecutor, advocate Mujaahid Sandan, told magistrate Onke Myataza that a probation officer’s report had to still be translated from Afrikaans to English before the matter could proceed.
Myataza postponed the matter to January 31.