What is the purpose of a CPG if members first have to get permission to enter a compound where a crime is being committed?

Dear Editor,

At 6am on the morning of June 3, 2014, I received a call from someone living in the vicinity of the Mahdia dormitory, who indicated to me that screaming was emanating from inside the girls’ dormitory. I immediately left my home and went to the Mahdia dormitory to investigate whether the information was accurate. Upon entering the dormitory I observed a group of boys, about 20 in number, standing outside the girls’ dormitory who told me that there was a man inside the girls’ dormitory.

I asked them if that was the truth, and they took me and showed me the board placed by the intruder between the water trestle and the toilet window, and the missing louvre panes, which allowed him to gain entry into the building. Upon seeing this, I used my phone to call the Regional Chairman and asked him to alert the police and the regional administration. As a member of the Mahdia community policing group (CPG), I attempted to enter the girls’ dormitory to render assistance, but was told not to enter.

Approximately 15 minutes later the police arrived with the acting Regional Education Officer (REdO). Upon seeing me in the compound with the group of boys, he began to reprimand me, asking, “Hello, you don’t have any children living here at the dorms, what are you doing in this compound?” I told him I was a member of the Mahdia CPG, and was responding to a call for help. I also showed him my CPG police ID card. The REdO further criticised me and even tried to prevent me from taking a picture of the manner in which the male had gained access to the building.

At a meeting with the REdO on June 6, he reiterated that no individual, including the Regional Chairman, councillors or members of the Mahdia CPG, who is not an education official, is allowed to enter a Ministry of Education compound without first seeking permission from the Education Officer.

I would like to know what is the purpose of a community policing group if they need to first seek permission to enter a compound where a crime is being committed?


Yours faithfully,
M Gafoor
Mahdia Community Policing Group

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