Policing in focus

Colonel Rufie Nel of Wynberg police with station commander Brigadier Nokuthula Mzila.

Steenberg, Grassy Park and Wynberg police stations have made it their priority to join forces with neighbourhood watches and businesses to fight crime in 2017.

Southern Mail spoke to the top brass at these stations who shared their
vision of tightening up security at schools and working with the community to make arrests and find the evidence needed to keep criminals behind bars.

Steenberg police station commander Colonel Jan Alexander said partnering with the community would “double
our efforts to improve our service delivery”.

They plan to patrol more near schools in areas where there have been shootings. “We have 22 schools in our area, and we don’t want the new kids to be threatened by the current crime situation.

“We will subsequently be reaching out to schools and meeting with principals to find ways to put out more security.

“We want to make sure we get rid of the crime generators, such as gangsters and drug dealers, because we cannot afford to lose lives any more.”

Explaining the modus operandi
of the perpetrators of drive-by shootings, he said: “They are either in a vehicle, or two people on a bike.
While the one rides, the other one shoots.”

He said Steenberg police would conduct many stop-and-search operations next year.

Colonel Alexander also said they have 14 registered neighbourhood watches which are their “eyes and ears”, and he encouraged residents to join them.

“We have our normal sub-forums for every sector and we encourage the community to attend our annual general meetings which will happen either in late January or February.”

Colonel Shawn Van Wyk, station commander of Grassy Park police, said their main focus was to work with neighbourhood watches who were registered with the Department of Community and Safety and to build a relationship with them and other organisations in the area.

“The police capacity is not that strong, but communicating with neighbourhood watches where we meet at least once a month to tackle one problem, for example raiding shebeens, strengthens the force.

“We are also in the process of setting up meetings to discuss issues, for example information about a drug house that we are not aware, etc.”

Colonel van Wyk said the neighbourhood watches report directly to SAPS and “we have a direct line to share our problems”.

He said over the festive season there had been an increase in robberies on the street during which goods, such as name brand items, were stolen. “Domestic violence in families was another main issue where the police had to step in,” he said.

“In drug-related cases we made some good arrests because the community shared their tip-offs and we want to thank the community for helping us.”

He said working with other police stations was important because crime had no boundaries. “If we have to chase a perpetrator out our boundaries, we will.”

Colonel Rufie Nel, visible policing (Vispol) commander, who spoke on behalf of Wynberg’s new station commander Brigadier Nzila **FULL NAME??**, said: “Wynberg had a decrease in crime compared to last year, during the festive season. However, we still had street robberies and the burglaries at residential and businesses.”

He added that “our deployment of police secured a slight decrease in crime.”

He said among their plans was to recruit more neighbourhood watch members and roll-out the installation of security cameras along main roads.

They also aim to attend to complaints quickly “ but obviously we must get all the evidence for us to prosecute. Every person has rights according to Bill of Rights. However, if there is good evidence to run trial they can get a sentence.”