W Cape seeks return of special units
Cape Town - The Western Cape government's legislature has come out in support of the reinstatement of specialised drug and gang units by the police.
"Many of the communities I have visited that are plagued by gang violence and drug-fuelled crimes have all cried out for the re-establishment of specialised units," Safety MEC Dan Plato said on Tuesday.
"The Western Cape cabinet echoes this sentiment. I will now be writing to [Police] Minister [Nathi] Mthethwa to inform him that specialised units have been identified as a formal policing need and priority for the Western Cape, for him to take into account, as contemplated by the Constitution," he said.
Plato said the Western Cape was being particularly hard hit by drugs and gang activity.
The province had the highest number of drug-related crimes in South Africa.
Some 70 588 drug related crimes were reported in 2010/11, more than half of the total number of drug related crimes committed nationally.
"At the same time, gang violence is rife in the Western Cape and has recently spread to areas not traditionally associated with gang activity," Plato said.
"Serious interventions are needed to drastically reduce drug and gang-related crime."
Plato said specialised policing units had proved an effective strategy as they offered dedicated teams working solely on specific crime categories.
Such units had specialist skills and the expertise needed to investigate, detect, arrest and ensure successful convictions.
"Specialised units are adaptable to changing environments and modus operandi and have the capacity to build up intelligence," Plato said.