Court Watching Unit assists with oversight of the Western Cape police
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by Albert Fritz
The Court Watching Brief Unit (CWB) is situated within the Department’s Monitoring and Evaluation unit.
It assists the department in its oversight of SAPS in the Western Cape.
The unit monitors criminal cases struck off the court roll due to SAPS inefficiencies by physically visiting courts.
CWB members are required to listen to the proceedings to identify inefficiencies in relation to the investigation or trial.
Where cases are struck off the court roll because of systemic failures, these are captured and reported to the Provincial Commissioner to ensure remedial action is taken to finalise these cases or institute disciplinary action, where necessary.
The Unit is first and foremost accountable to the victims of that GBV or domestic violence (DV) incidents.
It is crucial that anonymity is maintained with respect to their case and particulars and would not be appropriate to share that with the broader community.
We must ensure that the victims of such cases feel assured that the matter is being monitored and that recourse will be taken if SAPS fail them.
As such, the CWB was recognised for service delivery excellence at the 17th annual Impumelelo Awards Ceremony in November 2017.
In the 2019/20 financial year, the Unit attended to 846 cases.
We have taken the role of the CWB unit further by creating a mailbox, where those seeking assistance in terms of a GBV or DV related matters, and particularly those seeking assistance in terms of obtaining or executing a protection order can email.
This email is [email protected] and residents are encouraged to make use of it.
Through the CWB, we have started to monitor and report on GBV related cases, identifying trends in policing inefficiencies which are submitted to the office of the Provincial Commissioner.
Going forward, we will be working with community members in the rollout of our Area Based Teams (ABTs) in five crime hot spots including Philippi, Bishop Lavis, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Mitchells Plain and Delft.
The purpose of the ABTs is to pool together safety and community stakeholders to ensure that we include the community’s voice in response to issues of safety affecting them.
* Albert Fritz, Community Safety MEC.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.
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