Appliances, taps and computers stolen from crime intelligence offices

We’re not safe at all, says employee

Photo of building

The offices of Crime Intelligence in Wiganthorpe Road Pietermaritzburg have been broken into several times. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

By Nompendulo Ngubane

10 October 2018

The offices of the police Crime Intelligence Division in Pietermaritzburg have been broken into five times in the past few weeks, according to employees. They say computers containing sensitive information as well as kitchen appliances and taps were stolen.

The offices, in Wiganthorpe Road, were broken into four times in September and once in the first week of October, according to an employee who asked not to be named. In October the burglars entered through the roof and broke and stole taps. A fridge and microwave were also stolen.

The office has no security guard or surveillance camera. The only security is an electric gate and pin code access to the main offices.

“We feel abandoned by the state,” said the employee. She said the break-ins had been happening since 2014.

“We don’t feel safe at all. In 2014 three or four guns were stolen. A suspect was arrested. He was released because there was not enough evidence. Up until today we have not found the computers which were stolen. Those computers contained critical information. We don’t know what happened with those files in those computers.”

“Our office keeps sensitive files and documents. The security should be very tight. We have information about high profile people,” she said.

She said the office had been without water for a day after the last break-in and the staff had to go home.

After the theft of computers a few weeks ago, the remaining computers were moved to another police building in Church Street.

Staff left in the Wiganthorpe Street office now use laptops which they take home at night.

But another employee said the offices in Church Street were also in a poor state.

The air conditioning has not worked for three years, and the offices were very hot because the windows were bullet proof and could not be opened.

“We use our own fans … The lifts get stuck most of the time. Sometimes they don’t work at all,” said the employee.

Asked to comment, national police spokesperson Vish Naidoo said, “It is with much regret that I must inform you that, given the sensitive nature of the work this unit is involved in, I am unable to confirm or deny anything you are raising in your query.”

“Any information disclosed about this unit may compromise the work that is being done by that unit.”