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'Language barrier' hampers police in dealing with foreigners

'Language barrier' hampers police in dealing with foreigners.
'Language barrier' hampers police in dealing with foreigners.

Police officers are often unable to write proper statements when foreign nationals are victims of crime owing to a “language barrier”.

The situation – which leaves foreign nationals vulnerable – was evident at the Soshanguve Police Station in Tshwane‚ a National Council of Provinces (NCOP) delegation found this week. Members of the Gauteng legislature were also present during the NCOP delegation’s visit.

“The barrier of language makes it complicated for South African Police Services officials to assist foreign nationals when they are victims of crime. They rely on using hand signs to communicate with them‚ which in most cases does not result in writing of correct official statements. This challenge also applies when they are perpetrators of crime‚” said the delegation leader‚ George Mthimunye‚ in a statement.

The delegation also stated that many foreign nationals that dealt with police at the Shoshanguve station did not have legal documents to be in the country and did not have fixed addresses.

“In some cases‚ they even change their names‚ which then results in the police being unable to keep a database of the foreign nationals‚” the statement read.

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