A Cape Town police officer who is out on bail after allegedly forcing a woman to perform a sexual act on him, should be suspended while the criminal investigation is under way, the local community policing forum (CPF) said on Thursday
Grassy Park CPF chairperson Melvin Jonkers confirmed the police watchdog had written to the Grassy Park police station commander to request the suspension of the sergeant, who appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on a sexual assault charge on Monday.
He is accused of forcing a woman to touch his genitals in her Pelican Park home last Thursday.
The woman, who is involved in community work, said she knew the officer because he visited her previously, IOL reported.
He was released on R1 000 bail.
Jonkers said he contacted the station commander to enquire whether the officer had been suspended but was told that the instruction had to come from the provincial commissioner’s office. No such directive had been given yet.
He had also written to the station’s management to make the same demand on Tuesday.
Jonkers said while the police watchdog believed in the principle of innocent until proven guilty, it found such allegations “extremely disconcerting”.
“We are mindful of the power relationships between police and [the] community and it would therefore make no sense to have him at the police station with such a cloud hanging over him.”
Jonkers said this was not the first incident of this nature as there have been “other misdemeanours by police officials for which some are serving jail terms”.
The Cape Times reported earlier this year that another Grassy Park officer had appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court for allegedly raping a shoplifting suspect in 2016 while she was in police custody.
According to the publication, the man had been linked to the crime through DNA evidence.
“It is clear that the Grassy Park police service needs an urgent overhaul,” Jonkers said.
“The CPF suggested some remedial measures, especially in terms of sector policing, and hopefully [it] will be taken seriously.”
News24 asked provincial police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana if the police officer was still on duty and whether any internal disciplinary steps were taken.
She responded that the matter was still under investigation, both criminally and departmentally.