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Lamoer refuses to 'endanger' officers

The Western Cape top cop says the matter is delicate and should not be discussed publicly.

Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer. Picture: Chanel September/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer on Tuesday declined to divulge police to population ratio statistics for fear of putting members at risk.

Lamoer appeared before the community safety standing committee in the provincial legislature where the issue was discussed.

Provincial Community Safety MEC Dan Plato recently released figures which show there was one police officer to every 3,000 Mitchells Plain residents.

Lamoer said he would not give exact station statistics of police to population ratio as it would expose his members.

He told the community safety standing committee the issue was complex and would create confusion in the public domain.

"Automatically your police officers will be exposed to certain things. Or the other question will be why is one policeman station at a much lower ratio than the other one."

Issues around police staffing was also raised.

Lamoer said the Western Cape had the highest number of protests in the last year.

"We had to send officers to the protest actions."

SPATE OF POLICE MURDERS

Ealier this month Heidelberg police detained a suspect for the murder of former senior policeman Gerrit Myburgh.

The former Heidelberg Police District Commissioner's half-naked body was found lying in a pool of blood in his bedroom. Both his hands and feet were tied up with clothes. His body also had burn wounds.

It's believed the 77-year-old was living alone at his plot when he was robbed and killed. His body was discovered by his niece and a family friend who went to visit him on Monday.

A 37-year-old suspect appeared in court on Wednesday on charges of murder and house robbery. The matter was postponed to allow him to get legal representation.

In July Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille said the city is offering a R50,000 reward for anyone who has information on the recent spate of cop killings.

Seven South African Police Service (SAPS) members had been killed in the Western Cape in the preceding weeks.

In a speech at a full council sitting at the Civic Centre De Lille said it is important to remember that the policemen, who were gunned down recently, were serving the people of Cape Town.

Nathi Mthethwa has said police killings were a direct attack on the state. Mthethwa has said police need all the support they can get from society and politicians. He has called on communities to work with the police in fighting crime.

He also sent a strong message to criminals that government would deal harshly with those who are guilty of killing officers.

Last month a police officer was killed and another wounded in Nyanga.

In June, 35-year-old sergeant Mthunzi Mbonjwa was killed in Mfuleni. Mbonjwa was off duty at the time of the incident.

In the same month, four men appeared in court in connection with the murder of Johannesburg Central Police Cluster Commander Tirhani Maswanganyi. Maswanganyi's body was found bound and dumped in a field outside Pretoria in June.

The men have been charged with murder.