‘Howdy, pardner’ police

2015-06-02 06:00
Neighbourhood watches play a vital role in community security, such as crime scene preservation




PHOTO: Monique DuvaL

Neighbourhood watches play a vital role in community security, such as crime scene preservation . PHOTO: Monique DuvaL

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Creating a safe and secure environment for the community is the main objective of the police.

This is according to Captain Angie Latchman, spokesperson of the Wynberg police cluster.

Latchman says, however, this task cannot be accomplished by the police by themselves – “it needs the assistance and support of its external stakeholders, and in this respect the neighbourhood watches of Wynberg have defiantly aided in the delivery of this vision”.

“All over the world police agencies have come to realise, in view of the complex and diverse nature of crime, and their limited resources, the involvement of community partnerships is part of a holistic and, ultimately, more effective approach to crime prevention,” she says.

Latchman says the community police forums (CPFs) and neighbourhood watches in the Wynberg area have been in existence for a number of years and they have proved to be extremely successful and supportive.

“The police have embarked on a sector policing concept whereby the area is broken down into smaller areas, thereby bringing policing closer to the community,” she says.

She explains that each sector has a mini-CPF known as the sector community forum, consisting of members of the CPF, neighbourhood watches and street committees. “The neighbourhood watches are closely linked to the sector police forums. The importance of community participation cannot be expressed sufficiently,” she says.

Latchman says these bodies form part of the eyes and ears of the police. “We rely on their information and feedback when planning our crime combating strategies. The CPFs and neighbourhood watches are a part of all crime awareness and crime prevention projects at their respective policing areas,” she says.

Latchman further says that neighbourhood watches play a role in crime-scene preservation.

“While only trained police officials are authorised to be on crime scenes we urge the community not to tamper with a crime scene as it can have detrimental effects on the investigation process,” she says.

Latchman says when you come across a crime scene you must not touch or move anything as you could be destroying evidence. “At all times a crime scene must be preserved for it contains valuable evidence,” she says.

Steps to preserve a crime scene

. Cordon off the scene, manage the crime scene and determine what has taken place, and who is required on the scene, for instance photographers, media personnel and traffic.

. Identify possible evidence, prevent contamination of the scene, ensure evidence is not tampered with or contaminated. Protect evidence from being destroyed or removed from a scene

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