70% in WCape fear giving information to police – survey

2012-07-04 13:09

Just under 70% of the members of 13 347 Western Cape households surveyed 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.

This according to a 140-page report on provincial policing needs and priorities, released by the provincial community safety department in Cape Town today.

According to the report, drug offences head the list of crimes affecting Western Cape communities.

“I think we were not surprised with regard to the input. [This is a] re-confirmation regarding the reinstatement of specialised [police] units,” community safety MEC Dan Plato said.

Home burglaries and common robbery were identified as other priority crimes.

The findings were based on a survey of 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.

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.

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