Top job for seasoned crime-fighter

2016-05-18 06:00
uMgungundlovu cluster commander Brigadier Francis Bantham (right) congratulates Brigadier ‘Boxer’ Pillay on new role as commander of Mountain Rise police station.                    PHOTO: AMIL UMRAW

uMgungundlovu cluster commander Brigadier Francis Bantham (right) congratulates Brigadier ‘Boxer’ Pillay on new role as commander of Mountain Rise police station. PHOTO: AMIL UMRAW

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AN emotional inauguration was held for seasoned crime-fighter Pregasen “Boxer” Pillay at a ceremony celebrating his new role as Mountain Rise police’s station commander.

Pillay, who was also promoted from colonel to brigadier, was shortlisted for the station commander position at Point police station in Durban as well as Mountain Rise, but on Tuesday it was announced he will take over the reins at uMgungundlovu District’s largest station.

Trying to hold back his emotions at the ceremony, Pillay - known affectionately as “Boxer” for his skills as an amateur boxer before he joined the police - began his speech by asking to be pinched because the promotion felt like a dream.

After a 35-year tenure in the force, of which 20 were spent as a colonel, Pillay said his promotion should stand as motivation for other seasoned officers­ not to give up.

“Never throw in the towel until the end,” Pillay advised.

With this week marking the 35th year of him joining the force, Pillay described the journey as “challenging”.

“I am still grappling with the feelings and coming to terms with this appointment. I know it comes with more accountability and responsibilities, which I fully embrace.”

Pillay joined the police in 1981 at Mountain Rise before being transferred to the Prestbury police station between 1982 and 1988. After getting his diploma in policing, he was transferred back to Mountain Rise where he climbed the ranks to his current position.

He served as the station’s commander between 1996 and 2007 before being demoted to head the visible policing unit.

However, he has since accumulated more than two years’ service in an acting capacity as station commander.

“I joined the police because I have always had the instinct to serve the community. You could call it a passion.”

Discussing his plans for the station, Pillay said he will focus on building stronger relationships between the police and the community as there is currently a challenge with meeting the community’s expectations.

He said he will also strive to enhance the principles of sector policing by, for example, initiating effective neighbourhood and community watch groups.

“We want the community to feel safe in their homes and in their areas.

“I also encourage my officers to always­ treat the community fairly and with dignity.

“I also hope to increase the response times from our station.”

Speaking at the ceremony yesterday, uMgungundlovu North cluster commander Brigadier Francis Bantham­ said Pillay has seen station commanders at Mountain Rise come and go, but “it is his time now”.

Confident in his capability, Bantham­ said Pillay commands the loyalty of his station’s officers and she believes he will make a huge difference in the station’s policing area.

Messages of well wishes poured in for Pillay yesterday.

Local African National Congress PR councillor Rachel Soobiah said Pillay­ has been an “integral part of policing”.

“He [Pillay] ushers in positive change and represents the ethos of integrity, professionalism and a desire to serve the community.”

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