Sector policing delay unacceptable

Cape Town - It is unacceptable for the police to still talk about the implementation of sector policing nine years after its inception, the chairperson of Parliament's portfolio committee on police said on Wednesday.

After listening to a presentation on visible policing by the SA Police Service, Lydia Chikunga told Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele that it was about time the issue of sector policing was addressed.

"We don't want to talk about the same things over and over again. It was introduced in 2002. [It's] almost nine years that we've been talking about one thing. I can't understand why we must be talking about it year in and year out," said a visibly irritated Chikunga.

Sector policing was designed to foster close co-operation between police and communities to prevent crime. She said from her experiences, in the few areas where the strategy was implemented, there was progress.

"Where there is sector policing, things are better. Where there is no sector policing, there are problems."

Still implementing

In a presentation to the committee on Wednesday, Lieutenant General Sehlahle Masemola said the police were still busy with the implementation of sector policing.

In October last year, Cele told the same committee that sector policing was still stuck in the starting blocks because of a lack of staff and vehicles.

"It has not reached the level of its potential. We have identified the shortcomings of it. One is a lack of equipment, mostly to do with the cars," he said.

The police's head of operational services, Commissioner André Pruis, said the police force simply lacked the staff to properly implement the strategy.

Chikunga said she could not, after all these years, understand why it was taking so long.

"I don't know why it's something so difficult to understand. For me, really, it's quite simple. If it's not possible to be implemented, we should change it and start something else."

Regular commander change

She also questioned why station commanders at police stations changed on a regular basis.

A police station in Atlantis had had five different station commanders over the past four years.

"If you check the impact, it is so negative. Because today you have this one, tomorrow you have another one, the next day, you have another one."

Chikunga said she thought the national office should play a role in monitoring the movement of staff at police stations.

She also questioned why it took months, or sometimes years, for vacant posts to be filled.

Due to time constraints, Cele could not respond to the issues raised.

Chikunga said the committee expected written responses before it met again.
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