KNYSNA NEWS - Mayhem on social media followed last week's issue of the Knysna-Plett Herald about the police arresting two suspects in Sedgefield for cultivating 143 dagga trees.
Abuse was hurled at this newspaper and at the police, with the majority of comments directed at the police for arresting those caught growing dagga – and against the Knysna-Plett Herald for reporting on the story.
Knysna police spokesperson Sergeant Chris Spies was asked to respond on behalf of the police.
"We thank the Knysna-Plett Herald for covering the arrest and confiscations in a balanced manner as well as the continued support that we’ve received from the Knysna-Plett Herald," said Spies.
"The possession or dealing in cannabis (dagga) remains an illegal substance in terms of South African law and the SAPS will continue to deal with this matter in accordance with the law, without prejudice, fear or favour," he said.
"The perception that the police only focuses on dagga arrests is totally unfounded and we would like to respond to this matter as follows:
"During February 2018, a total of 105 cases were reported and attended to in connection with drug-related offences compared to the 77 cases recorded during February 2017.
"This in itself is a significant increase and is attributed to more crime-prevention operations at drug outlets. Contributing to these successes is our intelligence-driven approach as well as tipoffs received from the public," said Spies.
'Lot of information' from public
The police receive a lot of information from the public on a daily basis regarding drug-related activities, Spies continued, adding, "The supply of this valuable information is paramount to the success of our operations to eradicate the illegal trade of drugs.
"In most cases it results in the arrests of suspects and/or the confiscation of various kinds of drugs. "
Spies said the arrests for drug-related offences were as follows:
- Dealing in dagga – 3; possession – 32
- Dealing in Mandrax – 7; possession – 25
- Dealing in tik – 5; possession – 27
- Other arrests were for cocaine and "unga"
"This gives a clear picture of the arrests for the past month. It is also important to note that alcohol and drug abuse remains some of the major contributors to serious and violent crimes in Knysna. It also contributes to property-related crimes, in particular burglaries, theft out of motor vehicles and theft," Spies said.
Most of the arrests and confiscations were made in the CBD, Hornlee and the Nekkies areas, Spies said. Of these, "quite a number of offences" were recorded in Grey and Nelson Streets.
"We once again want to thank the community for their continued support and also want to assure them that all information supplied to the police will be dealt with in a confidential manner," Spies concluded.
Read a follow-up article on cannabis use and the legalities involved following recent court rulings.
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