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ISS opposed to police merger

The Institute for Security Studies says absorbing the metro police into SAPS will jeopardise safety.

The Institute for Security Studies says absorbing the metro police into SAPS will jeopardise safety. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Merging metro police with the South African Police Service (SAPS) will be a bad move, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said on Thursday.

A number of policing issues have surfaced in the Western Cape this week.

Provincial Community Safety MEC Dan Plato on Wednesday revealed statistics showing a dire shortage of police officers, especially in areas with high crime rates.

He claims there is one SAPS member for more than 3,000 people in Mitchells Plain.

Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer rubbished the statistics.

ISS' Johan Burger says absorbing the metro police into SAPS will jeopardise safety further.

"The moment the local police become part of national police, they will be utilised in terms of national priorities. We've seen this happen in the past."

Burger says there are several examples of independent policing bodies getting absorbed into the national force.

According to some residents and business owners in Mitchells Plain, visible policing is nothing but a myth.

One street vendor says she witnesses how police officers turn a blind eye while drugs are sold a few metres away from the police station.

She also identified times when police officers collect bribes from drug pushers.