CPF calls on residents

2016-09-27 06:00
Maitland CPF was joined by police, residents and other emergency services to call for attacks against emergency service personnel to stop in the placard demonstration in Voortrekker Road last week. PHOTO: gary van dyk

Maitland CPF was joined by police, residents and other emergency services to call for attacks against emergency service personnel to stop in the placard demonstration in Voortrekker Road last week. PHOTO: gary van dyk

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Maitland is on a mission to make the streets safer for emergency personnel.

On Thursday 22 September the Maitland Policing Forum (CPF) took to the streets with a placard demonstration on Voortrekker Road where they were joined by partners from various emergency services as well as the police.

“Crime against our emergency services personnel has been on an increase and numbers are rising daily,” says the forum’s Justin Kumlehn.

“The amount of attacks taking place against the people who are there to protect us is scary–- from police shootings to attacks on paramedics, many lives are being affected.

“We as a community policing forum invited the community you to join us for this peaceful placard demonstration to show support for all first responders.”

As motorists drove past the placard demonstration in front of the Maitland town hall many of them hooted in support and Alfredo Johnson, one of the onlookers, added his support of the demonstration.

“Sometimes these people don’t realise what they are doing for their communities when they start attacking these people (emergency services),” he says.

“I read about an ambulance that was attacked in an informal settlement recently and know of areas where the people throw stones at the police when they go in to act against crime.

“What happens when these services don’t want to go into your area? Must people die? And who is the first to complain when the police won’t respond to your calls to fight crime – the same people who threw stones.”

Kumlehn adds that the demonstration was also held to make people aware of the need to fight crime in the area.

“While we are taking a stand against the attacks and killing of our police and other emergency services there is also a need for more people to become the watchdogs against crime.

“Criminal activities must not be allowed to flourish in the community and everyone can play their part in making the area safer.”

Arlene Williams, who lives in Facreton but works in Maitland, supports the demonstration but wants police to intensify the fight against drugs.

“That is the biggest problem destroying our areas and our children,” she says.

“There are just too many horror stories that you hear everyday where drugs are destroying families. Dealers and gangs are targeting younger children all the time and once they’re hooked that’s when the problem starts.

“They leave school and have to start stealing to support their habits. Once they’ve stolen everything from their families their neighbours become targets.”

Another onlooker, who did not want to be named, feels that there are areas where people do not want to report drug dealing because the dealers are putting food on the table.

“Unemployment is the biggest problem,” he says.

“Without work there is no hope so what must you do if you and your children are hungry? You turn a blind-eye to your neighbour who is selling drugs or alcohol illegally if you are getting something out of the deal.

“But, people must remember if they allow it to happen then they are also going to be in danger one day.”

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