New chief of police

2015-10-20 06:00
Ocean View police have a new chief at the helm, as Lieutenant-Colonel Rufie Nel steps in as acting station commander.

nicole mccain

Ocean View police have a new chief at the helm, as Lieutenant-Colonel Rufie Nel steps in as acting station commander. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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Building bridges and regaining the trust of the community is the aim of new acting Ocean View station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Rufie Nel.

This “farm boy from the West Coast” has already had 32 years of service, after starting his career in Lambert’s Bay.

He went on to open a station in Graafwater before serving in Alexander Bay. He transferred to Cape Town in the 1990s, where he served at Steenberg station, followed by 10 years at Claremont and nine years at Wynberg.

Most of his service has been in the areas of crime prevention and community engagement, he says.

Although still only in an acting capacity at the Ocean View station, Nel has plans create a safe space for the community.

Repairs and upgrades to the station are currently underway, with even the garden being taken care of.

“Your environment must be clean and neat because it’s an advertisement of yourself,” he says.

“The community must feel welcome to contact us and visit us. People must make use of station. It’s their station.”

Nel will also be taking a hard stance on police officers who don’t toe the line.

“I aim to ensure officers understand the oaths they have taken, which is to put community safety above their own safety,” he says.

“I’m not afraid to discipline officers who are not doing their job. The community can contact me directly to report any incidents,” he says. “But the community must also send us compliments, because some officers are doing good work.”

Nel hopes that building trust between community members and police officers will encourage residents to report crime.

“If the community trusts the police, they will be more willing to open cases. This might make the crime stats higher, but will also result in more arrests,” he says.

Officers of the station have been deployed to areas of concern to ensure the community can seen them being active, Nel explains.

But the community also needs to work with police by taking care of their home and personal safety, Nel says.

He says that although emergencies will always be prioritised, residents must understand if police responses are delayed because they have been called out to more serious crimes

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