Cape Town – There were 700 complaints against the service provided by police to the provincial Police Ombudsman during the last reporting year.
The report recorded a 70% increase in complaints compared with the previous financial year, with most complaints emanating from the Cape Town metropole.
Police Ombudsman Johan Brand said this year his office received 732 complaints with the Mitchells Plain cluster recording 101 complaints followed by Khayelitsha with 81 and Tygerberg 73.
Brand said the least complaints emanated from the Cape Town metro police, which recorded two and Beaufort West, which had recorded three.
He said the ratio of complaints to population showed that one complaint for every 2417 people residing in the Cape Town central station precinct.
Chumile Sali, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum project officer, said the fact that the ombud invited comments from the public on systemic complaints was commendable.
The ombud’s recommendations on systemic complaints should result in systemic changes in the police.
Sali said the police ombud or Western Cape Legislature should be able to monitor the implementation of the ombudsman’s recommendations.
“The ombudsman is the only external oversight body that investigates complaints on police inefficiencies and breakdown of relations between the police and the communities.
“The recommendations should be tools to improve relations between police and communities and improve efficiency within the police,” Sali said.
He also commented on its appointment process saying it should be open and transparent to ensure the independence of the ombud.
Africa Criminal Justice Reform project head Lukas Muntingh said the role of the police ombudsman was to enhance the efficiency of police services and improve relations between the police and communities by investigating complaints of police inefficiency and by investigating a ny breakdown of relations between the police and communities in the province.
He said the mandate of the office was limited to the investigation of complaints of inefficiencies against members of the police in the Western Cape and members of the Cape Town Metro Police Department.