Durban - A HIGH-LEVEL discussion about a joint crime-fighting strategy between the Durban metro police and the SAPS was welcomed by opposition parties in eThekwini municipality and crime-monitoring agencies.
The envisaged collaboration was discussed by top brass from the metro police and SAPS last week at a three-day-meeting at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The officers declined to comment on the discussions, citing their sensitivity and confidentiality. However, the spokesperson for the SAPS national commissioner, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, said short-term crime-fighting strategies were in place, and they were working towards an integrated approach to combating crime in the long term.
“Our discussions can’t be made public yet. This was not the first meeting. We are putting together an integrated approach that involves everybody,” Naidoo said.
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said the success of such a collaboration would depend on the content of a plan the parties agree to, and whether it was carried out in a way that gained the trust of citizens.
Chandre Gould, a senior research fellow in the crime and justice division at the ISS, said a plan could work if the collaboration was continued in the long term, and a plan was based on evidence of what had worked to prevent violence.
“In short, to be effective the partnership must be strong, clear about what it is trying to achieve and must address the social drivers of crime,” she said.
The DA’s Shaun Ryley, a member of the city’s security and emergency services committee, said the metro police unit was “severely” under-resourced.
“We have 26 officers performing VIP protection, taken from the about 2300 existing metro officers. The collaboration will be helpful. The municipality should have a dedicated unit to deal with homelessness and vagrancy, instead of expecting metro police to deal with these social ills,” Ryley said.
The acting mayor and chairperson of the committee, Fawzia Peer, said a collaboration between the SAPS and metro police should include a focus on cases of land invasion.
“The re-energising of our efforts through the finalising of the collaborative strategy to combat crime, could not come at a more opportune time, because this encompassing strategy is needed to meet the growing challenges of municipalities - metropolitan municipalities in particular,” said Peer.
While the police understood crime prevention and neighbourhood dynamics, metro police understood the specific goals of municipalities and their unique challenges, she said.
The 2017/18 crime statistics showed an increase in house and business robberies as well as house burglaries in the Durban North and Berea areas.
Brian Wright, project leader of the uMhlanga Rocks Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP), said they collaborated with the SAPS and metro police, and it helped in their fight against crime.
Heather Ross, chairperson of the Umbilo Community Policing Forum, said such a collaboration was long overdue.