Drug crimes affect Western Cape most

2012-07-04 20:32

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Cape Town - Drug offences head the list of crimes affecting Western Cape communities, the provincial community safety department said on Wednesday.

"I think we were not surprised with regard to the input. [This is a] reconfirmation regarding the reinstatement of specialised [police] units," community safety MEC Dan Plato said in Cape Town.

"[Provincial police commissioner] Arno Lamoer the other day, again in a communiqué and on national television, said: 'No, it will not happen'.

"But at the end of the day, all over the Western Cape... that is what people want, that is why it is there [in the report]."

The department released a 140-page report on Wednesday on provincial policing needs and priorities in Cape Town.

Surveys from 13 000+ homes

Drug offences, home burglaries, and common robbery were identified as the top crimes on which the police needed to focus.

The findings were based on surveys from 13 347 households and 25 community policing forums, and interviews with relevant organisations.

Plato said he had already couriered copies of the report to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for consideration when determining the national policing policy.

He would monitor the degree to which the highlighted needs and priorities were implemented in national policy.

He said the province was unique and needed specialised police drug and gang units, and a framework with targets to address drug-related crime.

The report had also highlighted the need for improved relations between the community and police, as just under half of the participants felt the relationship was poor.

Police response

Half of those surveyed said the police's response to distress calls was poor.

"We are working very hard to restore the relations between the public and the police. In some instances, there is a breakdown in the communication," Plato said.

He said the community needed to trust police and the courts to combat crime and bring criminals to book.

One way to do this was to educate them on the province's witness protection programme.

Just under 70% of people said they would not feel safe if they needed to give information to police about a crime they had witnessed. This rose to 71% if they were required to testify in court.
Read more on:    police  |  dan plato  |  george  |  cape town

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