A community on patrol

2015-08-05 06:00
PHOTO: nicole john

Involved with COP (from left) is Shameel Ally, Brigadier Francis Bantham and Jay Jugwanth.

PHOTO: nicole john Involved with COP (from left) is Shameel Ally, Brigadier Francis Bantham and Jay Jugwanth.

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WORKING with the community is key if the newly launch Community on Patrol (COP) initiative is to be successful.

This was the unanimous feeling among role payers at the Mountain Rise Police Station when speaking about COP.

Community Police Forum chairman Jay Jugwanth, Brigadier Francis Bantham and Combined Action Team leader Shameel Ally, said that COP was developed to address the needs of the community to root out crime and drugs in the Mountain Rise policing area.

“COP is twofold - the first is dealing with those who are already using drugs and suffering from addictions. The second is to be proactive and stop further use of substances by getting information about what is going on in the community from community members,” said Ally.

COP aims to address the problems of drugs and substance abuse by ensuring that schools offer a safe learning environment to children free from drugs and restoring a proper learning environment for the children. COP will ensure there will be no sale of alcohol and drugs within a two-kilometre radius of schools in the Mountain Rise policing area.

“The community needs to work with us and supply us with the necessary information to take the criminals off the streets. We are appealing to them to avail themselves to meet with us and group our resources together to curb the problem in the area,” said Jugwanth.

Combined Action Team (CAT), and members which includes Mountain Rise SAPS, will be visiting schools and talking to community leaders, including religious leaders, principals, parents­ and ward councillors.

Ally said the team wants to go the correct route and set an example for the criminals in the area.

“We want to make a positive impact on the community and we will do whatever it takes. We are a team of experts and are all streetwise, so together we will reduce drug use in the area,” he said.

Bantham said the importance of community involvement cannot be emphasised enough.

“Be on the lookout for the simple things - like if your neighbour, who is unemployed, suddenly starts driving expensive cars - this is something that needs to be reported. We have the authority to run a lifestyle audit to find out where their money came from,” she said.

Ally said there is still a lot to do before COP achieves its ultimate goal however, he believes they have the buy-in and trust of the community after they have seen the results since the inception of the station’s operation, CAT.

“It’s a long-term blessing that will shape the future of many young people.”

“This is a project from the community, for the community. They are the ones who ensure the success of the project.

“Thank you to all who made the COP operation possible. It is a station commander’s dream to have a project like this implemented in their policing area.”

Ally said that a hotline for COP will be launched later this month, which will allow the community to report information directly to the team.

In other efforts to improve service delivery, Jugwanth said that the CPF has made it possible for the community services centre at Mountain Rise station to be installed with CCTV cameras in order to monitor members’ conduct and enhance management.

There will be a meeting with principals, governing body members, parents, ward councillors, religious leaders and community leaders at the Arthur­ Blaxall School on Wednesday, 12 August at 1pm.

The meeting will discuss the way forward before the project’s initiation in September

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