Berea CPF works on own ‘war-room’ in fight against crime

2014-05-14 00:00

THE Berea community police forum (CPF), police and local security companies have hatched an ambitious plan to work together to better secure neighbourhoods from opportunistic crime.

Following in the steps of the Durban North CPF, the Berea CPF inched closer towards the creation of a central information radio hub.

The “war room” hub is expected to provide the police with more “eyes and ears” on the ground while simultaneously providing better community surveillance and support for responding police and security officers to crime scenes.

The Berea concept is hoping to build on the groundwork already undertaken by the Durban North CPF who have had a “collaborative operation” for nearly 12 months.

Berea CPF sector chairperson Grant Smith said the idea would be for all the security companies to buy into “a single frequency” shared by the police.

“The frequency would only be used in an emergency or to share information about suspicious people or vehicles. This would be logged at a designated control room which would co-ordinate and circulate emergencies to the security companies and police,” said Smith.

Smith said it is in the CPF’s interest to have everyone work together. Each security provider would have the “frequency specific radio” in their control room while the operational centre co-ordinating responses would be based at the police station.

He said once there was buy-in by both the SAPS and private security it would put more information in the hands of patrol vehicles.

Meetings, which are attended by both the SAPS and security firms, for the joint project are still in its early stages.

“The security companies would still respond to their clients but they would have better support. We are all trying to do the same thing and that is stop crime and arrest criminals,” said Smith.

Haden Searles — CPF chairperson for Durban North — said their biggest challenge is finding reliable and trained radio controllers to sit in the “war room”.

“We have a memorandum of understanding between all the participating security companies and the police. Initially there was concern by the private sector over the poaching of clients but this is no longer a problem. We are now looking for a workable solution to have the control room operational 24/7. One solution is to have the security companies provide a controller on a rotational basis at the war room which is based at the Durban North station,” said Searles.

He said ideally the police should provide the controllers as the collaboration was in the interests of fighting crime.

“We all know that our stations are understaffed so we must come up with a solution to keep our community safe.”

Searles said he “welcomed” other areas wanting to create similar relationships between security, police and the community. They were welcome to contact the Durban North CPF for advice, he said.


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