With crime on the rise and robberies, house break-ins and hijackings dominating headlines daily, community policing forums are an absolute must-have.
So says Ward 26 councillor Ross Strachan, who also heads the Greater Prestbury Community Policing Forum.
“CPF is a platform where community members, organisations, other relevant stakeholders and the police meet to discuss local crime prevention initiatives once a month,” said Strachan.
Strachan said the effectiveness of these platforms knows no bounds and encouraged communities to emulate this trend.
“Be in communication with your local community; use platforms such as community WhatsApp groups; participate in community patrol teams and attend CPF meetings in your area. Use these platforms to build relationships with your community members where you can tackle crime as a united front,” he said.
Strachan advised communities to go back to the old-fashioned neighbourly love approach, explaining that while personal safety is important, communal safety is just as important and ensuring it requires a joint effort from all.
“Do not adopt the ‘If it hasn’t happened to me, I’m alright’ attitude.
“Be in close contact with your neighbourhood and make sure you always have your local police station’s contact number on your cellphone,” said Strachan.
The Greater Prestbury Community Policing Forum was founded in 1996 and consists of the residents of the area including about 20 executive board members with a chairperson, deputy chairperson and secretary as well as members from community patrol groups.
In addition to constant communication via their WhatsApp group, the members hold a monthly board meeting and public meetings in order to devise methods of dealing with crime in their communities.
Strachan stressed that CPFs are fast becoming the most effective way of dealing with crime.
“Be safe, be vigilant and get involved in your community,” he said.