Police attacked

Police vehicles were damaged by bullets when officers came under attack in Ottery last week.

Police have again come under attack, this time in Ottery.

Last month Steenberg police officer Sergeant Donovan Prins was ambushed, shot and killed by gangsters. (“In memory of a ‘gentle’ officer”, Southern Mail, July 3)

Last week the police’s dog unit came under attack in Ottery.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating a case of attempted murder after a shooting between the police’s K9 Unit and gang members from the Ottery Flats.

Philip Bam, Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF) public relations officer, said three people were injured in a shootout between police and gangsters on Saturday July 13.

“In pursuit of the gangsters, police of the K9 Unit were fired on and returned fire. Three people, one believed to be the 17-year-old son of a ‘high profile’ gang leader, were critically wounded.

“The other two received medical attention at Victoria Hospital.

“Judging from the damage to the police vehicles it is a miracle that police did not lose any lives. The CPF wishes to express its thanks to the police who were prepared to put their lives on the line to protect our community,” said Mr Bam.

The community, however, threw stones at police, damaging two police vehicles while officers were arresting suspects. The area was only stabilised when the Anti-Gang Unit assisted Grassy Park police.

“These incidents are clear indications that we need urgent intervention in our police precinct which covers gang-riddled areas such as Parkwood Estate, Ottery and Lotus River.”

Mr Bam said the areas had become a playground for a few gangs.

“The CPF receives calls daily about ongoing shootings in the area. Our communities are fearful. Normal community social interaction becomes impossible under the circumstances. Gangsters block off roads with huge heavy rocks to obstruct police access, denying the law-abiding citizens the right to use the roads. This cannot continue. The CPF calls on communities to support the police in action against gang violence.

“In some of these areas residents attack police when they act against drug dealers and gangsters. This is unacceptable. We must let the police do their work knowing that their hands are strengthened by a supporting community,” said Mr Bam.

Grassy Park police station commander, Colonel Dawood Laing strongly condemned the stone throwing.

“Vehicles were damaged and officers were at risk. This attack further shows their (the community’s) lack of commitment to make their area safe. The community can’t be allowed to try and steamroll police in the execution of their duties,” said Colonel Laing.