Training in sight for neighbourhood watch

2016-09-27 06:00

The Ocean View Neighbourhood Watch may have to wait a few more months before receiving training.

This as new legislation, requiring neighbourhood watches to be “accredited”, is set to come into effect at the end of the month.

The Western Cape Community Safety Act, and supporting regulations, offers neighbourhood watches “the first ever formal status, under law”, says Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato.

“This ‘accredited neighbourhood watch’ status gives the department and our partners in local government the assurance that these neighbourhood watches are capable community safety structures, deserving of scarce resources. The neighbourhood watch also needs to agree to abide by the new code of conduct, which outlines rights and responsibilities as broadly reflected in the Constitution of South Africa,” he says.

The accreditation process was explained to the Ocean View neighbourhood watch structures at a community meeting on Tuesday 27 September. The neighbourhood watch was formed at the end of last year, and has been requesting training since March this year, explains community policing forum chairperson Kathy Cronje.

“Neighbourhood watches need to apply for formal accreditation under the Western Cape Community Safety Act in order to apply for training and equipment,” explains Plato, adding the accreditation process will take approximately three months from the time the application is submitted. “The accreditation process involves providing documentation demonstrating that the applicant, the neighbourhood watch, is a well-organised, capable and accountable structure, operating in a clearly demarcated area.”

Once the neighbourhood watch structure is accredited, they will have to complete the training request form, Plato continues. The department intends to commence training for accredited neighbourhood watches from mid-October. The Community Safety Act regulations will become law at the end of this month, and the first applications for neighbourhood watch accreditation will be considered thereafter, Plato says.

“Ocean View’s neighbourhood watches will be among the first,” he adds.

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