Bantham reveals strategy in fight against crime

2015-09-29 10:32
Brigadier Francis Bantham

Brigadier Francis Bantham (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzburg - A police mission to mobilise the communities in 13 district policing precincts to help in the fight against crime was announced on Monday.

The announcement to strengthen the police service’s relationship with various community leaders was outlined as the vision of Brigadier Francis Bantham, who was recently appointed as the acting cluster commander of ­uMgungundlovu’s (UMDM) northern police cluster.

Previously the station commander at Mountain Rise, Bantham was appointed to the top post early last week, and will now have 13 police stations under her command.

Born in Barkley West, Bantham joined the police service in 1990 and was promoted to the rank of captain 12 years later.

As she ascended the ranks, the now brigadier commanded a host of stations including Ezakheni, Colenso, Umbumbulu and Mountain Rise. She was also acting as the cluster commander of the entire Pietermaritzburg area last year.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Bantham said that in her new role her management team had analysed the crimes that need to be addressed urgently. They had come up with a strategy to address contact crimes, business and house robberies, hijackings and property crimes that the community is being plagued by.

“The cluster has its own dynamics and has to incorporate all the challenging areas,” she said.

In order to address these issues, Bantham planned to meet leaders of the farming community, non-governmental organisations, the business sector, faith-based organisations and the various community policing forums, and traditional leaders and security companies.

“Community policing partnerships are of vital importance in the united fight against crime,” she said.

“We want to hear the voices of the people and determine what their needs are in order to render an effective and professional service to the community.”

She said her management team were confident of bringing the community together, which she thought would result in a positive change in crime trends.

She appealed to residents in her cluster to join forces and strengthen the partnership with the police in their fight against crime.

“Police cannot win the fight against crime on their own. This can only be done with the support of the community,” Bantham said.

During her tenure as acting cluster commander of Pietermaritzburg, the Combined Action Team (CAT) were formed, which received plaudits for a number of high-profile arrests of criminals. The project was shut down last week, with police management saying that it had been a pilot project that had run its course.

However, the move prompted outrage in the community, which has started a petition to have it reinstated. A march in support of the project is also planned for today, starting at 5 pm at Northway Mall.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  police

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