‘WC cops socialise with gangsters’

Independent criminologist Liza Grobler’s findings raised eyebrows at the Khayelitsha inquiry.

Commissioners at a sitting ahead of public hearings at the Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha on 12 November 2013. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - It is fairly common for police officers to socialise with criminals in the Western Cape, the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

The hearing was set up by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille back in 2012 to investigate a breakdown in relations between officers and locals in the Cape Town township.

There were some raised eyebrows inside the Lookout Hill Hall as independent criminologist Liza Grobler on Wednesday discussed the findings of her report into corruption within the service.

She says her research shows it is fairly common for Western Cape officers to socialise with gangsters.

The criminologist quickly added it's important to note that in some cases, the gangster would be a mere friend of an officer they may have grown up with.

But in some cases, officials act as facilitators.

Grobler recommended that police's top management must take a tougher stance when dealing with corrupt officials.

She says not enough is being done to root out the scourge.

Earlier on Wednesday, Grobler also suggested police officers undergo random drug testing.

The criminologist said testing would not only reduce corruption, but also the ballooning rate of absenteeism within the service.