Protests usurping police resources, says Petros

13 May 2013 - 14:44
By Sapa
SAPS vehicle. File photo.
Image: Reuben Goldberg SAPS vehicle. File photo.

Protests in Gauteng are diverting police resources away from fighting crime, provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Mzwandile Petros said on Monday.

The past five weeks had seen 650 protests in the province – 40 of which had been violent.

"Resources that could have been used for crime prevention were used for this," Petros told reporters in Johannesburg.

"It's taking more resources we could have used to fight ordinary crime."

This effectively meant there was a violent protest every day for 40 days.

In his news briefing he also spoke about the death of a one-year-old baby in Mooiplaas, south of Pretoria, on Sunday.

The child was accidentally killed and its mother injured after being hit by a ricocheted bullet, allegedly fired by police.

Police were attempting to stop a crowd assaulting two men accused of stealing when an officer fired a warning shot.

The warning shot then ricocheted, hitting the baby and mother.

The mother was taken to hospital for treatment, along with two police officers injured while stopping the crowd from assaulting the two men.

"This is a story we want Ipid (Independent Police Investigation Directorate) to investigate," Petros said.

"From our side we will definitely be assisting Ipid with the investigation."

He called on the community to allow the investigation to be completed.

"As soon as we have the facts we will be decisive in our actions."

Turning to video footage of a policeman taking a bribe and a policewoman caught on camera performing a sexual act in Boksburg last week, he said action had already been taken.

The two officers had been relieved of their weapons and taken off duty pending the outcome of an investigation by Ipid.

Petros said a decision on their suspension would be made by close of business on Monday.