Pretoria - The “student village” of Hatfield now has its own 24-hour Tshwane Metro Police Department satellite station.
It is supported by at least eight officers, two support vehicles as well as a CCTV system with 79 cameras.
In its ongoing mission to clean up the crime-ridden precinct, the City of Tshwane yesterday opened the facility, which is tucked away at The Fields on Burnett Street.
The station is a collaboration between the Metro, University of Pretoria, Hatfield City Improvement District and other stakeholders.
Vice-chancellor of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe, welcomed the satellite station, saying it would go a long way in protecting staff and students.
He said the Hatfield campus was visited by about 40000 people daily.
Kupe said the high crime levels in the precinct had a negative impact on students.
“Books already have challenges on their own. The last thing you want is trauma caused by muggings,” he said
The police station will further serve as an operational office for city police officers and an administrative point for residents to get their documents certified.
It will also be home to the community policing forums from the surrounding areas.
Cutting the ribbon to officially open the station, Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said private-public partnerships allowed the government to maintain quality service delivery in spite of budget limitations.
Mokgalapa jokingly said students were held hostage by crime in the Hatfield precinct.
“We used to get robbed because we used to live in Hatfield when we were students,” he said.
The mayor said that for him the police station was one of the ways to plough back into the neighbourhood that made him.
More recently, people have accused Mokgalapa of giving Hatfield, and more especially the university, preference over the other campuses in areas such as Mamelodi as well as the Tshwane University of Technology in Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa.
However, he said: “This is no selective service delivery. We are looking to replicate this kind of initiative everywhere. But for now the focus is on the university with its more than 40000 students."
Jeffrey Wapnick, managing director of City Property, which manages The Fields and is a key partner in the establishment of the satellite police station, said: “As a proud member of the Hatfield community, we have been working to uplift the area and change perceptions.
“Hatfield is a sustainable, inclusive, diverse and vibrant community. With the commitment from Metro Police over the last two years through the introduction of the bicycle unit and now the satellite office, the safety of residents, retailers, students and visitors is reinforced.
“We have been directly involved with this first-of-its-kind project for over a year and our tenant installation team has worked closely with the Metro to fit out of their office, making it an approachable and helpful centre for the entire community, with an administrative office, briefing room and CCTV control room.”