Project to relieve cops at desks

2019-03-05 06:00

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Alan Winde, says the pilot project, which saw Western Cape Government volunteers doing duty as Commissioners of Oaths so that police officers can focus on averting crime, has proven to be hugely successful.

Over a nine-day period, Government volunteers spent around four hours per day, certifying documents in a safety kiosk, close to the Cape Town Central Police station. During this period, 1670 people were assisted, which equates to an average of 186 customers per day. The majority, certified ID’s and driver’s licenses, along with qualification certificates.

The early data suggests that at least four officers could be released from desk duty to either patrol the streets or conduct investigations.

“I am pleased with the results of this pilot project. It clearly demonstrates that more officers would be able to go on active patrolling duty if government employees volunteer at stations. Police officers at the station expressed their appreciation of the project and also made a few recommendations as to how the service can be improved.

“Although the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has still not responded to our request to deploy government officials within police stations, I will share this data with him, so that he can see the benefit of this initiative,” says Winde.

Winde continued to say there is a shortage of 4500 police officers in the province.

“As a provincial government, we only have an oversight mandate over the police, but we will continue to find innovative ways of getting our officers back on our streets to be more visible, so that our residents can stop living in fear. Government volunteers have been incredible in the manner they offered assistance. I commend them and the graduate interns from the Chrysalis Academy, who are on a year-long paid work placement programme in the Department of Community Safety, for being so effective during the certification process,” he says. “We will now consider all aspects of this pilot, before announcing our roll out plan which could see us located in our own kiosks until Cele approves our request, particularly in areas that are plagued by gang violence.”

Winde says he wants to urgently roll out the pilot project in Mitchell’s Plain and Bonteheuwel.

“I’ve heard the cries of community members in both Mitchell’s Plain and Bonteheuwel, who have requested urgent intervention following a spike in gang murders. We desperately need to get more police officers on our streets so that community members can be protected. Although I only have an oversight mandate over the police service, I cannot sit by and allow 25 deaths in Mitchell’s Plain within a three-week period, and 17 deaths since the beginning of the year in Bonteheuwel to go unattended. Should we not receive any permission from the SAPS by the end of this week, we will, as with the pilot project at the Cape Town Central Police station, do everything in our power to deploy our safety kiosks to these areas.”

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