The Sweet Service Award goes to the Hermanus police station, and to Inspector Payne specifically. Many a business owner may have laid a charge for theft, to never hear from the police station again. Ex-Whale Cottage Hermanus manager Lauren Kleynhaus took cash and beverages from the guest house without permission. Charges were laid at the Hermanus police station. Inspector Payne has negotiated an agreement whereby she has agreed to repay the debt, preventing her from being arrested, on condition that charges will then be withdrawn by Whale Cottage, a win-win situation for both parties.
The Sour Service Award goes to the Sea Point police station. An attempt to lay a charge against a staff member who had stolen cash was met with complete indifference and poor service. After waiting for fifteen minutes, and being assisted for one minute and then left on her own again, the complainant was told that she had to tell the detective her story first before she was allowed to lay a charge. This was a procedure that had not been experienced at any police station before, but she was told that this was standard procedure at the Sea Point police station. She then had to accompany a policeman to the detective’s office â€“ a 2 x 2 meter small office, in which 2 detectives sat at two desks, as well as three persons, and a shackled and handcuffed person was pacing the floor. The complainant got the fright of her life, and feared that she might be treated as a criminal as well. After refusing to join this collection of persons in the detectives’ office, she was taken upstairs to another detective, told her story in one minute, and then was given permission to go downstairs again and to lay the charge. The constable who took the statement was pompous (he had just graduated as a constable), and kept threatening to stop taking the statement if the complainant did not follow his instructions. He refused to take more than one statement, and said they should all be written into the same statement, even though the matters were unrelated. A request to speak to the station commander was denied. The ultimately ridiculous question asked was whether the complainant wanted the police to prosecute! The complainant was told that she had to call one hour later for a case number. The customer received the telephone number of the police station, and called while she was still there, asking to speak to the station commander. He was out, but his assistant allowed the complainant to see him. On hearing what the complainant had experienced, Superintendent Theart shook his head and apologised for the poor service the complainant had had to endure, and said that it was not standard procedure to see the detectives first â€“ in fact, one should see them after the statement has been taken, to check that all relevant information has been received. He said that the complainant should have been called with the case number. He personally called a few minutes later to provide the case number. It felt as if the Sea Point police station has no management control over its policemen, many of whom are still trainees, explained Superindent Theart. Ten days have lapsed since laying the charge, but nothing has been heard from the Sea Point police station.
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com.