A photograph of an SAPS policewoman standing in a queue at Checkers has gone viral on social media for all the wrong reasons this week.
The policewoman, whose identity is not visible in the photograph, is shown with her firearm positioned dangerously upside down inside her holster.
A former police officer and reservist and a professional in the security industry have called out the SAPS policewoman for her alleged negligence saying the firearm is dangerously positioned in the holster also making it easy for criminals to grab it. Both sources spoke of condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
“There are a couple of issues regarding the safety aspect of carrying a firearm into a public space, that does not require an officer to carry a firearm under threat,” the professional in the security industry noted.
“In the event that the firearm falls out of the holster you will have an incident on your hands that will require the SAPS to answer questions should someone be shot, injured, maimed or killed as a result of this negligence.”
He lamented that the professional stance of some members of the SAPS had “diminished substantially” and that Minister of Police Bheki Cele should be made aware of the photograph.
“This is evident on many posts circuiting on social media. This is a blatant and distinct show of the inability of the current police force members to be safety conscious and have a clear understudying of just how dangerous that scenario is…and any criminal who is out in the market looking for a firearm can just snatch that firearm without being challenged,” he said.
“This officer is not paying attention. The fact that she is carrying a firearm and is on her phone means in one sentence: ’my firearm is available if you can grab it, your can have it’. This needs to be addressed at the highest level and Bheki Cele needs to know about this photograph,” he said.
A former police officer added that the policewoman could lose her firearm by carrying it this way.
“The holster has a strap over clip, which will open due to the weight of the firearm. It is not intended to hang like this. If she needed to draw her firearm, it would be a very awkward position to draw from,” he said.
“She could easily have her firearm taken from her. The most reckless aspect of the ridiculous carry style, besides losing her firearm, would be the fact that if it dropped out of the holster, the firearm could discharge, injuring / killing her, or innocent bystanders,” he said.
He said the policewoman appeared to be poorly trained which was “something that is becoming more and more apparent among members of SAPS”.
Asked what action could be taken against the policewoman SAPS spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridilu said: “There’s no action that can be taken regarding the above pictures because there should be a plausible explanation of why the member is wearing the firearm like that, it could be that she was not aware that her holster is defective.”