PMB Cat Project praised

2015-06-17 06:00
PHOTO: Jonathan Burton

SAPS Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni addressed Cat members and the media at a press conference which highlighted the successes of the team in the past three months.

PHOTO: Jonathan Burton SAPS Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni addressed Cat members and the media at a press conference which highlighted the successes of the team in the past three months.

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THE Combined Action Team (Cat) in Pietermaritzburg, where the police and security companies join forces, has been praised by KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni.

Cat, which is a six-month pilot project, began in March and has been hugely successful in decreasing crime in the city.

SAPS Mountain Rise and SAPS Alexandra were nominated to partner with security companies to address community crime. The aim of this project is to create a joint force in the fight against crime.

Several security companies responded to the invitation and role players, including the SAPS Mountain Rise, SAPS Alexandra, Community Policing Forums (CPF) from both stations and security companies attended the initial meeting and discussed the partnership project.

Ngobeni said during a recent media briefing, that the Cat project was created for the community to show that by working together they can do more to address crime in PMB.

“This project is for the community, by the community, supported by the police. For years we have been saying that the police cannot fight crime alone. We need to find new ways and do things differently to allow us to catch the criminals who are evolving and using technology to outclass us,” said Ngobeni.

The project was authorised to operate for a period of six months, thereafter to be evaluated and if successful, be approved for all stations in Pietermaritzburg.

After operating for three months an evaluation meeting was held recently. A total number of 171 suspects were arrested for various crimes including murder, attempted murder, rape, armed robbery, carjacking, housebreaking and theft, business robbery, house robbery, theft of motor vehicle, possession of suspected stolen property, possession of unlicensed firearms and possession of drugs.

A significant number of motor vehicles were recovered, a large quantity of drugs valued at about R150 000 and 12 unlicensed firearms were confiscated.

Further investigations revealed that several apprehended suspects have been positively linked to other criminal cases.

All of the arrests have contributed to a decrease in crime in the PMB area.

“The community must realise that crime will not simply disappear, we need to create conditions that will eradicate crime.

“The success in the fight against crime does not merely depend on police action only, but on a community policing partnership as well. I appeal to the community to partner with our community police forum in the united fight against crime.

“The CPF meetings take place the third Wednesday of every month. One of the visions for our CPF is to convene meetings in different wards every month in order to reach out and ensure that the meetings are accessible to all the residents.

“This will open the channel of communication between the community and the police,” said CPF chairman, Jay Jugwanth.

Following the successes and recognition from the provincial commission, Karin Nobin, Cat chief of operations, said the partnerships they formed will continue to see a reduce in crime.

“What makes this team PMB’s elite crime-fighting unit is that we can talk with one voice and fight crime as team putting the community first,” he said.

Mountain Rise Station Commander, Brigadier Francis Bantham, thanked all those involved in Project Cat.

“As police officials we remain optimistic that the tide against crime is turning and that more people from the community are joining the crusade to reduce crime.

“Mountain Rise Police Station has undertaken the challenge of identifying those members of society who continue to jeopardise the safety of our citizens and impede the course of justice.

“We will do so with conviction and perseverance and continue to sharpen our crime-prevention strategies and engage in community policing partnerships, in order to address crime in our community,” said Bantham.

Ngobeni said that the success of this project is very promising for the future although not everyone who needs to be on board is currently working together.

“We can’t sit by and see that people are not involved, we need to show them they are in the minority.”

She said that partnerships at all levels were needed to combat crime in the city.

“I wish Cat every success and as the project grows bigger, the chances for criminals will get smaller,” said Ngobeni

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