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Specialised units needed for gangs: Plato

Crime & Courts

Specialised police units are needed to combat gang crime on the Cape Flats, Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato said on Wednesday.

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Cape Town -120515 - Safety and Security MEC Dan Plato chats to Gugulethu local Luthando Mahlanza, 34. Dan Plato joined local ward councillors in Gugulethu to hand out his cell number so that the locals can call him should they have any concerns about safety and security in their area. This is a measure in response to the conflict between two rival youth gangs, comprising primarily of boys, who harass people in the area, and fight amongst themselves. REPORTER: SIBONGAKONKE MAMA. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER

“Specialised units have been identified as a policing need... by provincial cabinet, the units have also been endorsed by the Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, in the National Development Plan, and are necessary if we are to tackle drugs and gangs effectively,” Plato said in a statement.

The units were effective as they had the skills and mandate to work on specific categories of crime and were able to build up intelligence to tackle gang and drug crimes.

Detectives in specialised units also had knowledge of the relevant legislation and had insight into sophisticated organised crime.

Plato said he had reached these conclusions after probing conviction rates in Hanover Park, Cape Town.

“The information I received from (the SA Police Service) SAPS was shocking. Over a three-year period, zero convictions had been secured out of 87 cases of gang-related murder and attempted murder in Hanover Park.”

Between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012, only a quarter of finalised prosecutions for murder cases in the area had resulted in convictions.

“This means that, to date, at least 75 percent of the murders in Hanover Park and the surrounding area have gone unpunished,” Plato said.

Over the same period in Bishop Lavis, convictions were recorded for only 10 percent of murders.

“The best way to make the people of the Western Cape safe from drugs and gangs is through targeted, sustained and specialised interventions,” Plato said. - Sapa

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