‘Give us back our Laing’

The Hanover Park Community Police Forum says the area needs its head of visible policing back at the station.

The Hanover Park Community Police Forum (CPF) have expressed their dissatisfaction about the temporary removal of Philippi police station’s head of visible policing, Lieutenant Colonel Dawood Laing, to Lentegeur police station in Mitchell’s Plain.

Chairperson of the Hanover Park CPF, Ebrahim Abrahams, said over the past two weeks there had been 15 murders in the area and he fears to think what will happen without the visible police head, Colonel Laing, who has been at the station for about eight years.

“We are not feeling well about it, we are not happy at all. There have been 15 murders in two weeks and they have the audacity to move him. We were supposed to get him back last Monday already but now it’s weeks. We are supposed to know about this, the area needs him. What can happen in this time that he is gone, who else is controlling this now?”

Mr Abrahams said residents are up in arms about the move and when they raise their voices they are told that they are out of control. “But what must they do? They are the ones who are suffering here,” he said.

Philippi police station commander, Colonel Dennis Abels, said he understands the residents’ concerns but it was an interim arrangement and Colonel Laing will be back at the station in a few weeks. “It is not a permanent arrangement, they needed him at Lenteguer police station. The residents need to understand that the fighting for the past weeks has been an internal fight between members of one gang due to a power struggle and not the gangs fighting each other or about turfs, and the guys being killed are part of the gang. In not longer than a month he will be back,” he said.

He said while the community has put all their faith in Colonel Laing, the station is prepared for any flare-ups over the weekend.

“We have seen the change in the area and we know that residents trust Colonel Laing but we are on top of things. There might be a flare-up over the weekend or not, but we have it under control. There is an action plan but we never know what can happen,” he said.

Colonel Abels said sometimes there are changes within the police force that must be adjusted to.