Police want to build trust

2016-05-04 06:00
CHILDREN of the various day-care centres in Bohlokong near Bethlehem approach WO Mafa Motsoeneng to play with the dog. Photos: Tladi Moloi

CHILDREN of the various day-care centres in Bohlokong near Bethlehem approach WO Mafa Motsoeneng to play with the dog. Photos: Tladi Moloi

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BOHLOKONG. – To serve and to protect is what the South African Police Service (SAPS) is about and this was clearly demonstrated when sector commander Const. Matumele Monareng and her team gathered at Extension 8 of Bohlokong near Bethlehem to extend a hand of friendship to the children.

On Wednesday, 20 April, a number of children of some of the day-care centres in Bohlokong watched a demonstration from various government stakeholders, including the SAPS and the fire and traffic departments.

During the event, children were taught about the difference between those stakeholders. According to Const. Tumi Monareng of the SAPS Bethlehem Social Crime Prevention, children refer to all of them as police officers, hence they had to teach them to distinguish between them.

“We wanted to teach them at an early age what our roles are. What we have realised is that they fear police officers. We want them to know that we are here to protect them, not to arrest them. We want to make friends with our kids,” she said.

Monareng also encouraged the parents who were in attendance to make their children friends of the police. She advised that parents should refrain from putting the police in a negative light in trying to stop their children from nagging or any other normal child behaviour.

“It is common knowledge that if a child wants something that a parent cannot afford and the child starts crying, then you’ll hear a parent saying: ‘I will call a policeman.’ In this way, a child develops a negative attitude towards policemen, who are there to serve and to protect them. We are friends to children. Please parents, let your children understand,” she concluded.

Free State provincial commissioner, Lt.Gen. Simon Mpembe, also discussed trust issues.

“Sexual predators have their sights set on these little ones, raping helpless children and threatening them with death if they talk. It is therefore important that they learn to trust the police at an early age. E kojwa e sale metsi (if you teach a child to walk on the right path, it will stick with them until they are older),” he said.

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