Fond farewell for Colonel Verwant

2016-04-12 06:00
Colonel Krisjan Verwant waving as he stands outside Athlone police station, where he has since retired from his post as its commander after spending 36 years in the police force.  PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Colonel Krisjan Verwant waving as he stands outside Athlone police station, where he has since retired from his post as its commander after spending 36 years in the police force. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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After 36 years in the police force, Colonel Krisjan Verwant, now former station commander of Athlone Police Station, has retired.

Verwant (60) started in the South African Police Services (SAPS) in 1980, eventually becoming a manager in 1991. After that he worked in Cape Town before being identified as a potential station commander.

He then became the commander of Kensington police station in 1996, overseeing operations for two years before being transferred to Maitland police station where he assumed command.

After being promoted to the rank of a full Colonel, Verwant became Delft police station’s commander.

He was the station commander at Delft from 2000 to 2003. Verwant said that he left Delft after asking to be transferred to the Provincial Inspectorate, where he worked until he was made station commander of Athlone police station in 2013.

“I am grateful for the participative way that I have worked with the community. I must thank the Community Police Forum (CPF) for assisting me, the civic associations as well as the neighbourhood watches who worked with me so nicely and my people at Athlone police station who assisted me.”

He feels that during his tenure, he, along with his colleagues and community members, has made a dent in the crime rate in the area.

“I think that there is a difference, because the last meeting that I had with the civic association, the civic queried about crime, but the neighbourhood watches could stand up by themselves and say that they walk the streets and they can say that there has been a reduction in crime,” he pointed out.

Following the conclusion of his 36-year police career, Verwant said that he would still like to be active in the community.

“I would like to work with neighbourhood watches and try to establish neighbourhood watches wherever I can and assist them. That is one of my desires, to be involved in the community and also assist in the prevention of crime on my own. That is what I will be doing after all of this.”

Despite his lengthy career, Verwant said that not all the memories of his time in the police service were good ones, but maintained that there are still those who can have a very long and successful career.

“It is important that you have the ear to listen and comply with the correct instructions. The other thing is that if you want to belong to the police, you must not be late for work and do not stay out of work, nobody can do anything if you just do your job and know how to work with the community.”

Verwant said that retirement has now afforded him precious time with his family, who has stood by him throughout the years.

“Now I have the time to take my family out, my wife I must thank. I have two sons and I have got my wife, I am still married. My sons are working. I now have the time for my wife, after 36 years in the police and she is so grateful to be with me. Now we will actually go somewhere and I can take her out and also release her stress, because I got stressed, she would also be stressed at home. The two of us will be taking some time off just to go and relax a bit.”

Verwant has been married to his wife for 32 years and he quipped that it is time for her now after all these years, but that he will also be spending his time devoted to another pastime of his.

“I like fishing, but not in the ocean, but in rivers and that am what I will actually enjoy as well.”

He feels that he has left Athlone police station in the safe and capable hands of Colonel Clive Nicholas and Colonel Alton Larry who is the station’s branch commander.

“I think that they can just carry on,” says Verwant, “The station is in safe hands with them and they know exactly what to do. I think the community will be in safe hands with them.”

Verwant still feels that gangsterism is a huge challenge being faced by the community and police alike, along with the various property crimes which occur in the area.

“I think that with the community involvement, with the neighbourhood watches, we can work together to make it better. We once had 13 neighbourhood watches in Athlone, who worked together, but it also depends on the community and how they work together as well as the community working together with themselves, not with the police all the time.”

He said that another challenge is how the different neighbourhood watches work together, but he is pleased with the system being adopted in the Athlone area.

“I hope that the neighbourhood watches who are not on board will come on board to work together and then we will be able to overcome the challenges being faced in Athlone.”

Verwant said that he will not be disappearing into the sunset just yet and that he will still be on hand for those who call on him.

“I just want to thank the community for their assistance. Anytime they contacted me, I could give them guidance and I could assist them whenever they have had a challenge.

“I still have the same personal number and they still phone me and I can still assist them from wherever I am, so I appreciate when they contact me and I can assist. I still stay in the area where I have always been.”

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