New law enforcement unit to help boost safety in Cape rural areas
The 21-member unit has been operational since July 1 and follows on the deployment of 500 extra officers into the highest crime areas in Cape Town in February as part of a joint project between the City and the provincial government with the recruitment of an additional 500 to follow.
Safety and Security mayco member JP Smith said the Rural Safety Enforcement Unit would support crime-fighting efforts within rural and semi-rural areas such as Morningstar, Philadelphia and the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), and build effective partnerships between all the different role players within those areas.
Smith said crimes such as attempted murder, assault, theft, vandalism, malicious damage to property, illegal dumping, cable theft as well as contact crimes were among the challenges in the rural areas within the city.
“We are hoping to help increase the visibility of enforcement services in these areas that tend to be further removed from police stations.”
He said the population in these rural pockets had also grown, formally and informally, so there was a need to extend services to those residents.
Smith said key focus areas would include a visible policing presence, establishing and improving systems to address crime within the areas of responsibility, educating the community on safety and security matters, supporting rural development, rural growth and the upliftment of the rural community and gathering intelligence to relay to investigative authorities.
PHA spokesperson Nazeer Sonday said there were a lot of problems in their area.
“The government has been promising us security measures.”
Sonday said the police and law enforcement were “not working nicely” with the community, and he urged them to work “hand-in -hand” with everyone.
Parliament’s police portfolio committee chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said in relation to the Rural Safety Strategy, the committee had also welcomed assurances from the police that rural safety remained a priority.
Joemat-Pettersson said the assurance would also deal with the issue of farm murders.
Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer has recently expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the Police Rural Safety Priority Committee and welcomed the extension of rural safety units to more police stations in the Western Cape.
Meyer said the agriculture department received more than 20 proposals from various stakeholders in response to the public call for proposals to deal with rural crime.
“Proposals range from improved law enforcement, police visibility and personal security guards to information sharing, the development of databases, job creation, alcohol and drug abuse, education, CCTV cameras on farms and rural transport nodes and drone technology,” he said.@SISONKE_MD