Specialised units needed for gangs: Plato

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

“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.

Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato. Photo: Thomas Holder. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

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