The wheels of justice break down

The lack of police vans is reportedly leaving residents vulnerable.

Imagine lying in bed, when all of a sudden you hear a noise coming from your living room.

You get up to investigate and realise someone is trying to burgle your home. You call the police for help, only to be told “Sorry, we do not have a vehicle available, but we will dispatch one as soon as one becomes available.”

This has reportedly become a constant problem according to residents of Newcastle, who claim the police service has deteriorated over the years.

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed she overheard two police officers arguing about who was to use a vehicle. She said she was shocked, because it was completely inappropriate for them to argue in front of the public.

Another resident claimed he was told there were no vehicles to attend to his complaint. He said he was furious when he realised the police were not even trying to send out a van to him later on.

About two weeks ago, another complainant was also told by police that no vehicles were available to be dispatched to a collision in Lennoxton.

“I was shocked by the response, and I overheard other residents complain they had the same problem when contacting the police.

An official inquiry was sent to the Newcastle SAPS Corporate Communications Department on February 10 to comment on the lack of police vehicles.

Questions were as follows:

– How true are these claims that no vehicles are available?

– Why are there so few state vehicles? – How many SAPS vehicles are operational in Newcastle?

– How are police officials meant to do their jobs if there are no vehicles available to attend to complaints?

– Where are all the vehicles?

– Are they damaged?

– How many police vehicles are still roadworthy?

– Will there be new vehicles allocated to Newcastle SAPS and if so, when and how many?

– How can residents feel safer in the meantime?

– What can a resident do if they are told there are no vehicles available at the time of a complaint? Are there other avenues of protection open to them?

None of these questions were answered.

The department merely responded by saying, “Residents should be aware of their surroundings, and take the necessary precautions until the police arrive. The police will attend to all crime reported.”

Despite numerous attempts to receive proper comment, none has been forthcoming.

Do you have any relevant complaints? Send an email to

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