Durban – Hoax callers ran rampant in Durban on Thursday following three fake bomb threats, with the latest impacting the Phoenix Police Station.
The precinct had to be evacuated after it received a call just after 15:00 saying there were apparently explosive devices on its premises. After a sweep by the Bomb Disposal Unit, officials returned to work.
Earlier in the day, hoax callers targeted the Cornubia Mall and the Commercial City Building with both evacuated after receiving similar threats.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo warned that there could be consequences to making hoax calls.
“This is a criminal offence. People can be charged with defeating the ends of justice. There are implications with making hoax calls. These people use up police resources. We are looking for the people making these calls.”
Naidoo said hoax calls to the police’s 10111 centers increased significantly during school holidays.
Crime intelligence must improve
Willem Els, an expert in crime scene handling and bomb disposal at the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), has however blamed KwaZulu-Natal’s Crime Intelligence Unit for its seemingly lack of efficiency in dealing with recent bomb threats.
Several suspicious devices have been found around Durban over the past few days, particularly at large shopping centres. Devices were also found in a parking lot close to the Durban July at the weekend.
According to Els, police should have uncovered more information by now relating to these incidents.
Els on Wednesday said that the first device was found two months ago at a Verulam mosque.
Following that incident, there is still “very little information”, he said.
“If you had a good crime intelligence, even after the first device, there should be significant leads.”
And, he added, if the province fails to beef up its crime intelligence, more suspicious devices could be planted freely in public places.