Cape’s Safety and Security Directorate assessed the training progress of law enforcement officers who form part of its second Neighbourhood Safety Team. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate assessed the training progress of law enforcement officers who form part of its second Neighbourhood Safety Team (NST) on Wednesday. 

This team will be deployed to Bonteheuwel.

The team, comprising 100 officers, will be deployed in June 2019.  

The deployment was made possible through additional funding which was secured by the Safety and Security Directorate in the City’s January Adjustments Budget.

"We are committed to building safer communities and this planned deployment underlines this commitment. This Neighbourhood Safety Team will help to address a long-standing need in Bonteheuwel where calls for a dedicated police station have been growing in recent months.

‘It is not within the City’s power and mandate to deliver a police station, but we are able to provide more municipal policing resources to the area and that is what we are in the process of doing. We are awaiting the finalisation of our draft Budget for the new financial year and if approved by Council, we plan to recruit and deploy at least 200 more enforcement staff in other areas of need in the city," said mayor Dan Plato.

The NST concept was first piloted in Delft in December 2017.

It aims to expand the existing enforcement interventions in identified areas, while also enhancing the City’s social investments through social development projects.

"The concept looks beyond policing or enforcement and also tackles other societal issues that, if left unchecked, can fuel crime or anti-social behaviour. Staff are expected to address service-related matters, whether broken streetlights or missing drain covers, work with schools and other stakeholders in the areas to address truancy and other challenges, tackle by-law infringements and suppress any other threats to the safety and well-being of the community," said Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

The NST has a core team of law enforcement officials doing duty in an identified area, supported by specialised units within the Traffic Service and Metro Police Department, where required.

Since the launch of the initiative in Delft, the following statistical gains were made (mid December 2017 to end of February 2019):

  • 366 arrests
  • 14 firearms and two imitation firearms confiscated
  • 20 144 fines issued for traffic and by-law transgressions
  • 12 331 vehicles stopped
  • 1 470 drivers tested
  • 860 premises searched
  • 25 564 people searched

In addition, officers logged and have followed up on hundreds of service requests related to City services in Delft, investigated and intervened in cases of chronic truancy and other social issues. The school resource officers in the area have been instrumental in the establishment of drill teams at six schools.

"We have had some success in Delft, but this is a marathon and not a sprint and much work still lies ahead. We hope to have similar success when the new batch of NST officers hit the streets. It is worth noting that no initiative can reach its full potential, no matter how good the intent, without everyone being on board.

"There have been calls for a more sustained policing presence in Bonteheuwel and surrounds and the City is responding to those calls because we care about our communities and are committed to building a safer city for all," Smith said.

"We also need residents to be in our corner and to work with us to weed out the bad elements that have run riot for far too long."

Cape Argus