Steenberg Police Station is under the command of a new man.
Col Hannes Nel, a veteran with 38 years of service in the South African Police Service (Saps), took on the new role last week after being appointed on Wednesday 28 December. He took over from acting station commander Lt Col Delmore Manuel.
Speaking to People’s Post, Nel says it is important to unite in the fight against crime.
“It is important for me at the end of the day that all of us are working together to address the causes of crime.
“I know there are also socio-economic circumstances. I’ve been in the area yesterday and the sector manager pointed out learners not going to school. So, we need to work with other organisations to make sure those learners return to school.”
No stranger to policing violent crime, Nel, who previously worked in the Nyanga Police Precinct, was head of visible policing.
“This year, I am finishing my 38th year in the police service. I previously worked at Nyanga Police Station as the head of visible policing for six years.”
He recalled the time he joined the service straight out of high school.
“I joined the police after matric in 1985 and then I went for my training. After my training, I was placed in the national protection services.”
Nel adds that he always wanted to be a police officer to serve the community.
“The reason for me joining the police was to serve the public, to make sure that at the end of the day, the interest of the public receives priority and that is why I am here.”
In his new role, Nel says he would ensure that the community is attended to.
“First of all, I need to make sure that I have a meeting with the Community Policing Forum (CPF).
“I’ve already been introduced to the CPF, so my role here will be to make sure that I familiarise myself with the station area and to make sure they attend to the community and to serve the community as the station commander, together with my officers and station management.”
When it comes to tackling police corruption, violence and crime, Nel says strong partnerships are important.
“For me, I was working in Nyanga and it was also a station where serious violent crimes were reported.
“Here it seems to be the same, although the areas are different in terms of the informal settlements. “Yes, I need to make sure that we tackle crime in this station’s area and that is why I would like to have a strong partnership with the CPF, the community and all other NGO’s (non-governmental organisations).
“Police will never be able to do it alone, we need to work together to form partnerships to tackle the crime in the area.
“It’s very important that the community work together with the police, but there are challenges to work on and to overcome.”
Talking about trust or the lack of trust the community may have in police services, Nel’s message to the community is simple:
“I would like to urge the community to work with the police in the fight against crime to be our ears and eyes. And to assist us in order to address the crime.”
He acknowledged that there was a lack of resources at police stations as a whole but they will work with the resources they already have. “We work with what we receive, as I indicated there are challenges, but we will work on those challenges. “You will never have enough personnel, so I’ve learned in the police services, you work with what you’ve got and try to think out of the box to improve the situation.”