Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Sheriff seizes four police vehicles in wrongful arrest civil case

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Four police vehicles, attached to Pietermaritzburg’s Mountain Rise Police station, were seized by the Sheriff of the High Court on Thursday following a wrongful arrest civil matter.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Colonel Robert Netshiunda said the South African Police Service was fighting the seizure in court.

“Police Legal Services component has acted with speed and will be in court today (Friday) to dispute and stop the sale of police vehicles on auction. Although only one of the seized vehicles was roadworthy, the Legal Department of the police was bemused to hear about the presence of a sheriff at the police station, whilst the matter was not yet finalised.”

“The seizure of the police vehicles did not comply with the prescripts of the State Liability Act and the police’s legal team is out to ensure that the law is followed to the latter wherein the integrity of the police is at stake,” he said.

Netshiunda said the matter emanated from a 2018 case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm where the suspect claimed that he was wrongfully arrested and detained.

He said most civil claims against KwaZulu-Natal police emanated from unlawful arrest and detention and vehicle collisions.

“With the identified discrepancies in the execution of the court order in the Mountain Rise matter, South African Police Service Legal Services officers are confident that the seized vehicles will be released to the custody of the police to make way for an amicable solution to the matter.”

Speaking to 3000 commissioned officers in Durban on Tuesday, provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi appealed to commanders to drastically reduce civil claims against the police and “take proportional steps against police officers who incur civil claims against the police due to negligence and unbecoming actions.”

“Honest mistakes will happen during the execution of policing activities. We have a delicate balance to maintain as police officers during the execution of our duties. However, police officers who use excessive force unnecessarily and those who ignore the basic principles of policing and attract lawsuits against the organisation must dance to the tunes of their actions.”

“With many people targeting the police service as a low-hanging fruit to institute civil claims against, our police officers will continue to tread on thin lines to ensure that perpetrators of crime are brought to justice,” he said.

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