Clean sweep for CBD

2016-04-19 06:00
Officers conducted routine checks at all stalls to ensure the overall bylaws were being upheld during the eight-hour operation on Wednesday last week.  PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Officers conducted routine checks at all stalls to ensure the overall bylaws were being upheld during the eight-hour operation on Wednesday last week. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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An initiative aimed at cleaning up the Town Centre will become a frequent occurrence.

This is the message from police who are joining Law Enforcement officials in seeing a decrease in criminal activities in the business hub.

On Wednesday 13 April, the security enforcement agencies maintained visibility from 14:00 to 22:00.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Williams says several units strategised and focused on individual issues at once.

Mayco member for saftey and security, JP Smith, says the City’s Law Enforcement department earlier this year outlined and communicated a plan of action to reduce the level of crime and transgressions in the Town Centre. “This included fencing and decreasing the number of access points in the Town Centre, sustained and regular integrated operations, dual monitoring of surveillance cameras and adaptation of work schedules for Law Enforcement.

“This plan was given greater motivation through the recent meetings with the police whereby there were shared concerns around crime, and a consensus was reached to intensify and sustain integrated operations in the Town Centre and the immediate surroundings,” says Smith.

The officers focused on vagrancy, general health issues, clamping down on drug dealing, prostitution, illegal structures, hawker bylaws, vehicle checkpoints and access control, says Williams.

The health officials also checked general cleanliness of the food stalls, looked for expired food items and reported all transgressions, while Law Enforcement officers ensure bylaws were being upheld.

Stops and searches of people and vehicles were also held on the outskirts of CBD while officers roamed within.

“This will be a frequent occurrence and we intend to replicate such initiatives in the Town Centre,” says Williams.

He adds they hope to rid the Town Centre of criminal elements while dealing with additional transgressions holistically and simultaneously.

Smith agrees, adding: “This initiative will be assessed regularly for general effectiveness and impact. It seeks to ensure adherence with all City bylaws and regulations. The aim is also to reduce crime and factors leading to crime and to generally make the Town Centre a safer and better managed environment for commuters, shoppers, businesses and tourists.”

The initiative resulted in 102 fines issued to the value of R76 800, of which 34 where for unlicensed drivers, two arrests for riotous behaviour, 47 people searched and 10 bins impounded.

Another police spokesperson, Sergeant Jerome Voegt, says although the centre had been quiet the officers would remain to ensure commuter safety.

Smith adds: “The integration of all essential agencies is fundamental to the success and sustainability of these operations. The successes as a result of partnership and cooperation between the police and Law Enforcement bear testament to that.”

This initiative included – and will include in future operations – multi-agency operations with other essential and important role-players such as Metro Police, Traffic Services, the PRASA Intervention Unit, the City’s Environmental Health Department, the Displaced People unit, the Camera Surveillance section, and the Social Development Department’s Integration unit in addition to police and Law Enforcement.

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