Winde’s new safety plan aims to halve Western Cape’s murder rate
Cape Town – Halving the murder rate in the province was listed as one of Premier Alan Winde’s top priorities in his State of the Province Address (Sopa) yesterday.
The Western Cape Safety Plan he announced would be his most ambitious to date.
“This plan is an evidence-based, data-led, and all-of-government intervention that not only sees us taking up a policing function, but also smartly pursuing violence prevention strategies that will make a real difference in our communities,” he said.
“To date, we have already introduced 500 ‘boots on the ground’ in key violence hot spots in the metro. And we are going to increase this by another 500 LEAP officers by the end of this year, with the last group of officers deployed by October 2021.”
The safety plan also included the fencing of 27 schools in high-risk areas.
He said the province was committed to recruiting an additional 120 peace officers for six vulnerable municipalities. “A total of 56 peace officers have been trained and placed in Laingsburg, Prins Albert and Beaufort West,” said Winde.
Through the provincial department of transport and public works, he said they would be launching a specialised interception unit and highway patrol to respond to high-risk events.
“Sixty-nine vehicles in the existing fleet have been repurposed for this crime-fighting initiative, and they are already patrolling our highways,” he said.
He also announced the launch of the Youth Safety Ambassador Programme in April, under the leadership of Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz.
“This initiative will see the recruitment, selection and deployment of 1000 young people as violence prevention facilitators in selected communities across the province.
“The safety ambassadors will play an important role within the area-based teams in assisting with the combating of youth violence and murder at local community levels.
“They will also receive a monthly stipend and training opportunities to better their job prospects,” said Winde.
He said that they intended to amend the Western Cape Community Safety Act that would expand the power of the police ombudsman, to also include oversight over law enforcement officials – and not just the SAPS and municipal police, as was currently the case.
“We will also empower the Ombudsman to initiate investigations,” Winde said.
“Policing inefficiencies at any level of government should be investigated – and not just at the national government level. This is especially the case as we expand our own law enforcement capability through the LEAP programme over the coming year.”