One on one with CCPO chairman

2016-05-18 06:00

FEVER reporter Tania Sandberg asked newly-elected CCPO chairman, George Lithgow, about the organisation, his biggest challenges as chairman and the organisation’s goals.

FEVER: Why was the CCPO established and what is its goals?

CCPO: The CCPO was established due to the violent crime experienced when Sam Dwyer was murdered. Quinton Rutherford approached me and asked how we could get more people to join the crime initiative that was in place. I approached my late brother Bruce, who called the meeting where over 2 000 people attended. Bruce asked the community to contribute R100 per month to get the organisation off the ground, and the same evening the community appointed me as chairman and the first committee was established. The goals were to provide a force on the ground to deter criminals from coming into our area and protecting the community we serve. We have grown from day to day and is known today as the CCPO.

FEVER: What have you done in order to achieve your goals and how have you progressed?

CCPO: My main objective will always be to build a proactive unit and move slowly away from the reactive side. The goal is to stop crime in the areas before it happens making it extremely difficult for criminals to do business here. Our committee already has a positive feedback after just being in office for a few months. We expect our teams to improve daily by establishing new methods and tactics to remove crime.

FEVER: What is your area in which you are operational and is there support offered for other areas?

CCPO: The area of operation is from Athlone Park to Illovo Beach. At this stage we are unable to extend our services to other areas as our resources are stretched to the maximum.

FEVER: What makes the CCPO so successful in terms of crime prevention?

CCPO: Our crime prevention is successful firstly as we have a dedicated team of champions on our committee and operational staff on the ground, together with co-ordinated support from the SAPS, Metro Law enforcement agencies and individuals like Gary Van Sluys and Tony Lotter, who have worked timeously to prevent crime in our area.

FEVER: What sort of interaction has CCPO established between security companies?

CCPO: We have always encouraged security companies in the area to participate in our initiatives and they have played an important role in assisting with our unbelievable success.

FEVER: What is the relationship between CCPO and SAPS and/or law enforcement?

CCPO: We as a committee of the CCPO know that the relationship between ourselves and the SAPS and the Metro are important and is paramount to our success. Our objective is to support all law enforcement agencies as it is them that have the proper legal requirements to back our organisation.

FEVER: Is there an update on your interaction with the minister of police?

CCPO: The meeting with the minister of police was extremely positive as he set the platform for assistance for our organisation with the regulatory authority PSIRA who I have had three meetings with on different issues. To be introduced to the CEO of PSIRA through the minister has really helped us when dealing with related issues one on one. I have been approached by the provincial Chair of the CPF to talk at a meeting next month about our organisation which the minister of police will be at. I really believe, as I said before, that our concept will be a blue print for the country.

FEVER: What are the services rendered by the CCPO and which services have been sourced out to Blue Security­?

CCPO: The CCPO has a manager and supervisors who oversee the service providers. Our team is responsible for monitoring crime and taking the necessary action to prevent crime by placing guards in strategic positions. We attend to crime scenes until the law enforcement authorities arrive. Blue Security provides the armed response side of our operation, together with the monitoring of the CCPO response action line.

FEVER: How is the UIP initiative progressing?

CCPO: The UIP initiative is one that I believe in as it deals with many issues, which we as the CCPO do not deal with. It is a well known that criminals are attracted to run-down areas, for instance areas that have derelict buildings, overgrown road verges, the list goes on. Cape Town has 33 UIP models in its city today, which has resulted in positive feedback whether it be higher and better property sales crime, et cetera, in the areas of operation. Umhlanga and Florida Road are areas that have been turned around totally and are now enjoying the benefits. I have met with the safety representative of the Chamber of Commerce and have tried to get one of the pilot projects, which would have been for free for the Amanzimtoti area.

FEVER: How do you plan on keeping your independence if you become part of this initiative?

CCPO: The CCPO will always keep its independence, it is the strongest community crime prevention organisation in the country. However, we will work and do whatever is necessary to strengthen and better our organisation to remove the scourge of crime.

FEVER: While your organisation is hugely successful in crime prevention, the administration of the organisation has been questioned. Do you have plans to address this?

CCPO: As chairman I have inherited the previous administration. We have implemented a new system which was donated by a kind member. The new administration system is a billing system which has so many features. It will be operational shortly, which all members will observe.

FEVER: Besides membership, how can the community contribute to combating crime in their area, assisting CCPO?

CCPO: The community is our eyes and ears and it is their vigilance that helps the CCPO combat crime. It is important that everyone that lives in our area keeps the number of the CCPO, which is 083 393 5066, handy and report any suspicious behaviour. It is our busy lifestyles that criminals find easy to operate in as we are not focused on what is happening right in front of us.

FEVER: What are your plans for the CCPO, moving forward, this year and can the public access your offices?

CCPO: The CCPO Committee is moving in an accelerated pace on all issues whether it be operational requirements to make the area safe by being more visual, to fund-raising to obtain more funds to place more guards to improving our administration system and to keep members informed of all improvements and events that are taking place.

FEVER: What do you have to say to your critics?

CCPO: There will always be the negative individuals, the ones that cannot deal with change, the ones that have lost their way in life, they are a fact of life. As chairman I enjoy constructive criticism by people who have better or superb suggestions regarding issues, my focus is on this community’s safety and will do whatever necessary, no matter what the challenge is, to assist this community with a better and safer place to live in.

FEVER: What are the contact details if one wants to join?

CCPO: Contact Kelly Fourie at 081 869 7184.

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