Western Cape pleads for gang unit

2013-10-09 20:59
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Cape Town - The creation of a specialised gang unit for the Free State should set an example for the Western Cape, the province's Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said on Wednesday.

Plato said he wanted to ask provincial police commissioner Lieutenant Genearl Arno Lamoer why he still refused to set up a gang unit for the Western Cape, which had 13 times more drug-related crimes than the Free State.

"The latest crime statistics [2012/13] reveal that there were 6 168 drug-related crimes in the Free State, whereas in the Western Cape there were 82 062 drug crimes for the same period," he said.

"Despite this, Lamoer has responded to my calls for these units by saying they are not necessary... With this latest development, the commissioner will have a lot of explaining to do."

Plato said Lamoer would have to "explain himself" at a provincial executive meeting in a week's time.

Lamoer was not immediately available to comment.

Gang unit

On Friday, Free State police commissioner Thabetha Mpembe said a gang unit was being created because of the gang activities that had plagued Bloemfontein, Virginia, Welkom, Botshabelo and rural towns in recent years.

Youth gang activities in Botshabelo had also led to school closures.

Mpembe said gangs and gang activities had been identified as an issue to be addressed by the local police.

The focus on gangs would also lead to measures against drug use, drug smuggling and illegal firearms.

Plato said the National Development Plan (NDP) recommended the re-establishment of specialised units to respond to changing crime trends.

"The best way to make the people of the Western Cape safe from drugs and gangs is through targeted, sustained and specialised interventions."

Read more on:    police  |  arno lamoer  |  dan plato  |  bloemfontein  |  cape town  |  crime stats

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