New unit for Safe Space

2018-10-09 06:00

A new unit has been created with the aim of keeping street people safe at the City of Cape Town’s Safe Space.

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, says the project is aimed at creating more efficient and effective law enforcement within the Safe Space.

“[Fourteen officers] have been trained to act as peace officers and enforce bylaws on a 24-hour shift basis at the Culemborg Safe Space for Street People. Activities will include regular patrols in and around the safe space, dealing with bylaw contraventions and ensuring the rules and regulations of the space are adhered to. The peace officers’ primary function is to assist the permanent Law Enforcement staff members assigned to the safe space, who will also provide a mentorship role to these auxiliary Law Enforcement officers,” he says.

The Safe Space – an overnight facility aimed at addressing the shortage of bed space at shelters – was launched in July (“City accommodates street dwellers”, People’s Post, 10 July) and offers street people an option that is neither a traditional shelter nor sleeping on the streets.

The site, situated underneath the Culemborg Bridge on the Foreshore, is a transitional shelter facility where up to 230 street people will be able to spend the night once it is fully operational. They will also be able to access ablution facilities, water and storage space for their belongings.

Street people seeking to use the facility will be assigned a storage locker, a sleeping pallet, sleeping bag and blanket as well as a wellness pack containing hygiene essentials. The City is partnering with external service providers to bring their specialist services, soup kitchens and other catering services to provide meals.

In an effort to ensure safety at the site, the dedicated unit took up their duties on Saturday 8 September.

The unit will “ensure that the space is a safe space for the street people while accommodated”, Smith says.

They will also ensure no drugs, weapons or alcohol are brought on site and will operate 24 hours a day, from Monday to Sunday, in shifts. “The unit has all the responsibilities of Law Enforcement, and will assist in ensuring that the space is kept safe,” he explains­.

V Contact streetpeoplesafespace@gmail.com or on 021 801 0140 or 021 801 0082.

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