Nominate local crime fighters

2018-01-30 06:00

Neighbourhood watch members sacrifice a lot to make others safe and now is the time to recognise their hard work.

The Neighbourhood Watch Awards 2018 will honour accredited neighbourhood watches, and their members, who went above and beyond the call of duty during the course of 2017.

The deadline for nominations is tomorrow.

The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate and the Western Cape Government’s Department of Community Safety (Docs) are encouraging nominations for these awards, to be held in February.

JP Smith, Mayco member for social services, safety and security, says neighbourhood watches (NHWs) are force multipliers in the fight against crime, expanding their abilities and assisting them in making communities more secure.

“The watches, together with Law Enforcement, the Metropolitan Police Department, Disaster Risk Management, Fire and Rescue Services and Traffic Services, are transforming our City so that communities, including women and children, are in a safer environment,” he says.

Safer communitiesSmith adds that the work done by neighbourhood watches contributes significantly towards building safer communities in Cape Town.

“The NHW members dedicate their time and often some of their own resources towards ensuring that criminals do not become comfortable in our City.

Over the last decade, the City has invested millions of rand in training volunteers and providing neighbourhood watch organisations with equipment like jackets, torches, bicycles, hand-held radios and radio base stations for their watch rooms, and has partnered with these organisations to install and share information between CCTV camera networks, explains Smith.

“The reason we invest so much in our NHWs is because we have seen the positive impact they are having in their communities and the city at large. We value and thank them for all their hard work and time and encourage them to keep doing the excellent work they do,” says Smith.

Western Cape minister of community safety, Dan Plato, says Docs, in consultation with various role players, including police and the City, has created a “first of its kind” legal framework for NHW structures in the Western Cape.

“This provides legal legitimacy to all those NHW structures that are successfully accredited. Since we started with the process for NHWs to apply for formal accreditation, almost 200 NHWs, representing almost 200 members across the province, have been issued with their formal certificates of ­accreditation.”

In September last year, Docs signed a historic Neighbourhood Watch Memorandum of Agreement with the City to co-ordinate their support for accredited NHWs across the City, Plato adds.

“The NHW Awards ceremony, the first under the new partnership, will showcase our appreciation of our NHWs and their members as treasured safety partners.

“Across the province, our NHW volunteers care deeply about safety and make a daily contribution to the safety of their communities,” says Plato.

Numberous categoriesThe different categories in the 2018 NHW Awards are designed to honour the many different ways in which NHW members contribute towards safety.

This includes formal patrols, those who work closely with the various emergency services, those who assist with social issues, those who work with religious organisations and NGOs, or even those working closely with schools.

“Every single contribution is valuable. We encourage every resident of the Western Cape to support and participate in their local accredited NHW to help build our collective neighbourhood watch movement, standing united, better together.”

Accredited NHWs, and NHWs which have formally applied for accreditation with Docs and have received formal notification that their applications have been received, are eligible for the 2018 Neighbourhood Watch Awards.

Although the awards, hosted jointly by the City and the Western Cape Government, only cover the City’s metropolitan area, community safety department envisages rolling out similar awards to municipalities across the province in the near ­future.

Anyone can nominate an individual member or an entire NHW team. You can also nominate the same person or team for more than one award category, but will need to submit individual nominations for each of them.

How to nominate:

. Only NHW members or teams that are accredited with DoCS or which have formally submitted their application for accreditation can be nominated.

. Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday 31 January at 17:00.

. Late and email nominations will not be accepted.

. When completing your online nomination, you will need to provide a body of evidence to support the nomination.

. To nominate an individual member go to http://bit.ly/2Gq63IH

. To nominate a NHW team go to http://bit.ly/2rRjHBw.

The finalists will be notified on 12 February and will receive an invitation to the awards ceremony.

V For more information on the 2018 Neighbourhood Watch Awards, email Neighbourhood.­Watch@­westerncape.gov.za or NHW.awards@­capetown.gov.za.

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