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Police warn against mob justice

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Arresting criminals is job of the police

LIVING IN FEAR: Residents who were relocated from different areas to Homevale are fearing for their lives after being targeted by alleged criminals in the area. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE POLICE have warned residents of the Homevale informal settlement not to resort to vigilante justice, after the community members had threatened to burn and kill criminals.

Provincial SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba, pointed out yesterday that it was against the law to assault criminal suspects.

“Community members can assist the police with information about criminals in order for them to effect an arrest,” said Ramatseba.

He advised that community members were permitted to restrain a suspected criminal, provided that the suspect was not dangerous.

“Otherwise the arresting role is done by the police. The taking of the law by the community into its own hands is strongly condemned and cannot be condoned.”

Ramatseba asked the community to furnish the police with any information regarding criminal activities in the area.

“We would welcome any information regarding any person terrorising residents of Homevale. Allegations that the suspects are claiming to be police officials will also be looked into and if some police officials are indeed implicated, drastic steps will be taken,” he added.

“Patrols in the area will continue. Any information of criminality will be followed up and the necessary steps will then be taken.”

Ramatseba also warned that the use of drugs was an offence.

“Allegations that people are smoking drugs in the area should also be reported in order to clamp down on the drug dealers as drugs can cause serious problems in the community.”

He pointed out that the community policing forum (CPF) in Roodepan was active and held meetings on a monthly basis.

“Ward councillors and sector forum committees attend these meetings in order to discuss matters of concern regarding crime. Community involvement plays a crucial role in fighting crime as police alone cannot succeed. The community are the eyes and ears of the police.”

Ramatseba added that the Trio Task Team, which was set up to combat robberies, business robberies and vehicle hijackings, was handed eight additional vehicles by the provincial commissioner last week.

“Anyone with information on crimes of this nature is kindly requested to contact the Roodepan police or the station commander, Colonel Mienies. Alternatively, information can be relayed to Captain Doggy Magugu from the Trio Task Team on 082 469 0578.”