Incidents where members of the public have protected criminals from the police have recently cropped up in the City of Cape Town. The city is warning those who interfere with police officers’ duties that they may face legal consequences.
Passengers of a minibus taxi and bystanders rioted last weekend in Seepoint, Cape Town, when traffic officers pulled this vehicle off the road. This follows after the driver did not want to stop at the checkpoint and the officers chased the taxi and forced it off the road.
“The driver was arrested and charged with reckless and negligent driving. One of the bystanders who threatened the officers was handcuffed on charges of obstruction of justice,” confirms JP Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety.
The police received opposition from the passengers and bystanders when the two suspects were arrested. They surrounded the officers’ patrol vehicle and rammed the vehicle. The police did manage to leave the scene with the two suspects.
According to Smith, this is not the first time that bystanders have interfered with police officers’ work.
“In recent months we have had incidents of groups of people storming police stations to free suspects and help armed suspects get away. This is a trend that cannot be tolerated. We cannot be a society that deplores the level of crime and violence, that calls for increased and more effective law enforcement, but then opposes those who try to do that job.”
Law enforcement officers arrested a total of 32 suspects in the past week, including 19 on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, four for reckless and negligent driving, nine on various charges, including possession of a stolen vehicle, presenting false documents and assaulting a law enforcement officer.
In the same period, a total of 49,610 offenses were reported, 255 vehicles were impounded and 1,442 warrants were issued.
The law enforcement department made 179 arrests and issued 2,689 fines for various violations.
The Metropolitan Police made 85 arrests, including 11 for driving under the influence of alcohol, and issued 4,103 notices for traffic and bylaw offences.
The Public Emergency Communications Center (PECC) recorded a total of 2,002 incidents over the weekend, including 110 assault cases, 42 domestic violence incidents and 75 motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents.
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