Empowering the victims of crime

2016-09-20 06:00
Captain Ian Bennett during his address at Manenberg police’s victims of crime empowerment programme which was held at the Druiwevlei community centre.  PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Captain Ian Bennett during his address at Manenberg police’s victims of crime empowerment programme which was held at the Druiwevlei community centre. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Manenberg police, with the City of Cape Town’s Community Safety Directorate, hosted a victims’ rights awareness meeting at the Druiwevlei Community Centre on Thursday 15 September.

The aim of the meeting was to inform and empower those who have been hardest hit by crime in the area. While the men in blue dictated proceedings, they too were reminded of their duties to those in attendance. The platform was primarily created to cultivate a healthier dialogue between the community and the police who serve them.

Clara (not her real name), applauded the police for creating the platform for them as victims to engage with the police to foster a better relationship, but also pointed out that police in the area need to play a more active role.

“If a policeman is on the street at 21:00 and sees a child of six or seven, they must stop and ask them where they live and where they are going, because a child of that age should not be on the streets. What is a school girl still doing on the street while school is in session? She should be at school. So police should stop and reprimand them if they find them walking in the street at that time of the day,” she adds.

Manenberg police spokesperson Captain Ian Bennett says the community plays an important role in the effectiveness of police.

“We want them to come forward when the case is made – not to just leave it and let it die down. They need to come forward and ask for feedback so that we can keep them updated on the progress of the case. This way we can get a lot of successes, because more information can come in about a certain case,” explains Bennett.

He says that constant engagement has been welcomed by sections of Manenberg, who have often been critical of the way police conduct their business in the area.

“It has become a counselling session for them so that they can not become hopeless after they have become victims of crime. We need them to become survivors, so that we can do better things and the partnership between police and community is vital.”

Bennett adds they will report back to Manenberg station commander Colonel Hendrie Hugo to alert him of the community’s needs and their apparent lack in the department of service delivery.

Bonita Jacobs, councillor for ward 45, says that there has been a lack of communication from both sides.

“People are not informed of their rights and what they can do. We as councillors, with the police and social development, need to work together, because it is more of a socio-economic problem here where people are afraid to speak out.”

Jacobs also echoed the police’s sentiments in urging those affected with crime to come forward and report it in order for it to be dealt with more effectively.

“What we can do as role players, is to distribute information sheets in the area and we need to go out and inform those who can’t read. We need to create that platform for them as well.

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