'Police shortage in the Cape'

WC MEC says there’s apparently only 1 police officer for more than 3,000 citizens.

The Western Cape committee on community safety says there’s a dismal shortage of police in the province. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape's standing committee on Community Safety on Thursday insisted its statistics on policing are accurate and show there's a dire shortage of police for the province.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato revealed figures on Wednesday, which shows there is apparently only one police officer for more than 3,000 citizens in areas like Mitchells Plain.

Plato said he received the information from provincial police.

But this has been disputed by Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer.

The provincial police boss has accused Plato of lying.

National statistics show that in the Western Cape there's one officer for every 245 citizens.

However the MEC isn't backing down, claiming he got the information from Lamoer's office.

The Community Safety Department's Greg Wagner said they have the figures on hand.

"We have this information that was requested by our office on a letter head from the South African Police Service (Saps) and signed by the provincial commissioner's office.

But the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has said nationally, police to citizen ratios can generally be improved.

The ISS said policing could be improved if there were three police officers for every 1,000 citizens in the Western Cape.

The institute's Johan Burger said the national average is one official to every 1,000 citizens.

"I would find it extremely strange to see a situation where you have it almost the other way around."