Only one cop for every 700 people in some Western Cape areas - ZIlle

Cape Town - There was only one police officer for every 700 residents in some precincts hardest hit by crime, indicating a major deficit in policing resources in the Western Cape, Premier Helen Zille said during her State of the Province Address on Friday.

"To put this in perspective, the national average police to population ratio is one officer to 328 people. That is twice as many policemen in relation to population, compared to some of our most crime ridden areas," she said.

President Jacob Zuma’s announcement in his reply to the State of the Nation Address on the reintroduction of the specialised drug and gun units was an "enormous step forward, ironically to get back to the point we were 10 years ago".

Zille commended the City of Cape Town’s specialised units, specifically its stabilisation unit introduced in Manenberg in July.

"Between July and November 2015, the unit’s presence resulted in a reduction of gang shootings in Manenberg from up to three shootings per day, to just one shooting in four months," she said. 

The coming year would also see the provincial government step up its monitoring of police conduct at the prosecution stage through its "Watching Briefs" programme in 25 courts, Zille added.

The initiative, started to identify ineffectiveness and inefficiency of police officers in their duties, last year won the Productivity South Africa’s Western Cape Regional Productivity award for the public sector.

"This is a most innovative programme and has increased the rate of criminal convictions by acting as a catalyst towards effective policing and production of the evidence that will stand up in court.  

"In the first quarter of 2015/16 alone, our Watching Briefs unit successfully observed 28 court cases, including cases of possession of firearms, aggravated robbery, murder, and attempted murder, where policing inefficiencies were present, such as nine cases of dockets not being available at court and 19 cases of failure of the investigating officer to timeously complete the investigation."

Zille said police had indicated that at least eight internal disciplinary cases had been opened as a result.

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