‘Severe shortage’ in cop manpower

2017-05-30 06:02

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Sick and tired of crime, members of the Maitland Community Policing Forum (CPF) got different stakeholders under one roof to find solutions at an imbizo in the town hall on Wednesday evening.

Charnell Southgate, chairperson of the CPF, says this follows the sharp rise in crimes in the area and the lack of police visibility. She says the lack of manpower and resources was preventing the police from performing to the expected standard, which was creating more space for criminals.

She explains they decided to have the meeting to address the challenges faced by residents and to strengthen the relationship between stakeholders.

These stakeholders included the police, the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement, members of the provincial parliament, neighbourhood watch, local council and members of the community.

About a hundred residents attended the two-hour long imbizo and pledged their willingness to play a part in conquering crime in Maitland.

The guest speaker, Mireille Wenger of the community safety standing committee in the provincial parliament, said the issue of police visibility and resourcing had been going on for a while and public hearings had been conducted and a report had been compiled with the aim of improving police resourcing for better service delivery and increasing safety in the province and the most vulnerable and crime-ridden policing ­precincts.

She said recommendations had been made, including the recruitment of reservists, revising the reservist policy, improving training for police officers on the Children’s Act and child justice, solving the issue of too few detectives and expanding the flying squad to 700.

She concludes that “there is no doubt that we suffer severe manpower shortages in our province. This is something that must be rectified in the interests of our ­communities.”

Robbie Roberts, director of Law Enforcement, encouraged both the police and the members of the public to make use of the services offered by his office to fight crime by its roots. He said his agency had been proven to be effective and would intervene in Maitland if necessary.

Ward councillor Helen Jacobs welcomed the attempt by the CPF to address and fight crime.

Residents voiced their dissatisfaction with the services offered by the police.

Faldie Isaac said he felt police had failed him and an assault case had been closed for no clear reason. He also said the issue of prostitution in the area was not taken seriously by the police.

Other residents highlighted a number of hotspots for criminals, including the footbridge on Royal Road, old unoccupied buildings and the unfenced railway station.

Captain Louis Solomons confirmed the reported complaints and said police were unable to deliver good service because there was a lack of resources and staff.

He advised members of the public to report crime and work with the police to make sure all criminals were arrested and ­prosecuted.

He said house robberies, car thefts and break-ins, drug dealings and prostitution were the most common crimes in Maitland.

During the meeting Southgate also thanked Sergeant Mandy Hilton-Peterson who had helped a woman deliver her baby at Maitland Police Station in late March by handing out a certificate of appreciation.

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