Western Cape wants more Police Officers, Vehicles and Visible Policing
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I am pleased to announce today the results of the most comprehensive Policing Needs and Priority (PNP) determination process ever to be held in the Western Cape.
Through its Constitutional mandate, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety consulted all 25 police clusters, including all 150 police precincts, and attracted more than 2500 key stakeholders and decision makers in the field of safety and security in the province during the 2014/15 PNP Consultation process.
Section 206(1) of the Constitution stipulates that the Cabinet Minister (national) responsible for policing must determine national policing policy after consulting the provincial governments, taking into account the policing needs and priorities of the provinces as determined by the provincial executives.
The formalised determination process undertaken by the Western Cape Government in this regard included the participation by as many structures as possible to ensure an accurate determination of what our communities’ real policing needs and safety priorities are. These include the South African Police Service (SAPS), Community Policing Forums (CPFs), Neighbourhood Watches (NHW), National and Provincial Government Departments, Non-Governmental Organisations, Faith-Based Organisations, Business Organisations, Local Ward Councillors, Victim Support Members, Municipal Managers and members of the community.
It remains clear that safety is everyone’s responsibility and we thank all who participated.
The whole-of-society approach to safety and determining of the 2014/15 PNPs identified the perceived causes, motivators and opportunities for crime per police precinct and per cluster in the province.
Through the use of interactive crowd-sourcing technology, the Department of Community Safety was able to determine the results and disseminate the precinct and cluster information back to the SAPS for consideration more accurately and in a shorter time frame than in previous years.
Today’s briefing takes a holistic approach and looks at the main findings of the 2014/2015 PnP report, the recommendations going forward and will reveal the Department of Community Safety’s intentions for further improving the new round of PNP meetings to be held this year.
The priority crimes identified in the Western Cape are:
- Drug related crime,
- Burglary at residential property, and
The main cause, motivator and opportunity for crime to occur are identified respectively as substance abuse, poverty and inadequate police visibility.
The 2014/15 PNP report also identifies that the factors influencing the safety needs in the province requires not only effective policing but for society as a whole to be involved and for everyone to play their part.
The report identifies a number of policing problems such as a lack of visible policing, lack of police resources and the problems caused by illegal liquor outlets including an increase in violent crimes. However, there are also other non-policing factors that have been identified such as lack of poor street lighting in certain areas; prevalence of substance abuse; lack of employment opportunities in some communities; unattended and underutilised open public spaces; as well as bushy areas in need of clearing.
The results of the PNP consultation process also emphasises the importance of everyone becoming actively involved in their own safety and taking responsibility for their immediate safety and security in their surroundings.
Some of the key results on respondent’s safety, and respondents’ reactions to crime, results are:
- A quarter (25.77%) of respondents indicated they have fallen victim of crime in the last 12 months.
- Almost a quarter (23.92%) of respondents did not report crimes when they fell victim – possible reasons are a lack of confidence in the SAPS, fear of reprisal and/or dislike of the police.
- Additional police vehicles (20.05%), officers (19.61%) and infrastructure; together with the re-establishment of specialised units are the biggest policing needs to promote professional policing.
- More than a quarter of the respondents across the province felt most unsafe on the streets (25.71%), in gang territory (18.81%) and at the taxi rank (8.95%). In gang-affected communities, the percentage of people feeling unsafe in these public places increase considerably.
- The majority of the respondents (76.07%) felt unsafe at night (18:00 – 06:00) followed by 17.53% who indicated during the early morning (06:00 – 12:00).
- SAPS is the least visible in the mornings – 06:00 – 12:00 (8.04%).
- Majority of respondents would like to see improved police visibility in their respective areas predominantly over the weekend (34.52%).
From the report, the state of SAPS’ service delivery in the Western Cape were perceived with mixed feelings by respondents. The highlights include:
- SAPS professionalism was good/ very good/ exceptional (64.88%)
- SAPS arrived on the crime scene quickly or within a reasonable amount of time (59.75%). However 40.25% indicated that SAPS did not arrive within reasonable time or they did not arrive at all.
- SAPS phone answer rate was efficient (64.85%).
- SAPS service at the station was efficient; 78.22% indicated that they were assisted immediately/ within a reasonable amount of time.
- 75.07% received assistance at a SAPS station in their language of choice.
- Only 31.09% received regular progress reports on opened cases. 68.91% who opened a case with the police either received infrequent progress reports, only when requested or never received any feedback at all.
- The professionalism of Victim support/Counselling services was good/ very good (41.11%).
- With regard to Counselling referrals, 37.69% identified the quality to be very poor, poor or average.
- SAPS resource allocation is inadequate (66.14%).
The key safety needs in the province identified by respondents were the effective working of the CPF (23.14%) and the NHW (21.41%), as well as improved victim empowerment (18.51%). This was the Department of Community Safety’s first time reporting on the functioning of the CPF and we have learned a lot in what is needed to increase the performance of the CPF and to make it a capable partner as envisaged in Section 18 of the Community Safety Act.
This should therefore not be seen as a critique against the countless number of dedicated men and women who freely volunteer their time and efforts to participate in these structures; but rather as a goal for the Department of Community Safety to capacitate these structures to the best of their ability and for the SAPS to partner better with community members striving to help create safer communities.
Critical recommendation in the report:
- Findings of this report be considered at SAPS Provincial, Cluster and Local level and incorporated in the respective station plans and be monitored by the local, cluster and provincial CPF and SAPS management structures.
- SAPS must develop and implement targeted operations to combat drug-related crimes, burglary at residential premises and murder.
- SAPS must improve their visibility as a deterrent to crime on the streets, in gang territories, during the night and over weekends.
- SAPS must re-establish the specialised units involving Family Violence, Child Protection, Drug and Narcotics, Sexual Offences, Gang and Murder Unit as proposed in the cluster reports.
- SAPS must increase the number of the police officers by filling all existing vacancies as a 1st phase and provide material resources namely vehicles, office equipment, accommodation and improve the conditions of police holding cells.
- All Municipalities must be requested to use this report as a point of reference to address key local issues through the Community Police Forums (CPFs) / Community Safety Forums (CSF) or other local structures where a CPF / CSF does not exist.
- DoCS must ensure the optimal functioning of CPFs and NHWs by capacitating members with relevant skills and material resources including investigating the feasibility of stipends to increase safety in the province.
- The Department of Social Development and DoCS must implement more youth programmes to address substance abuse.
The way forward.
The PNP 2014/15 process has equipped the Department with the most comprehensive information from across the province regarding communities’ safety needs and policing priorities. This information has already been disseminated to the various policing precincts to better inform the service delivery of SAPS in all communities.
The official PNP 2014/15 report showcased here today has also been distributed to the National Minister of Police, the National Police Commissioner and the Provincial Police Commissioner in the Western Cape. We will now also bring the report and its findings to the attention and consideration of all Municipal Heads, affected organisations and different spheres and structures within government.
However, we cannot stop there. We need to address the problems raised in the PNP 2014/15 report Better Together.
For the 2015/16 PNP determination and consultation, the Department of Community Safety will use the 2014/15 report as a departure to host workshops across the province, in each of the new 16 police clusters. Each workshop will bring together the Municipality, the SAPS, DoCS, safety structures and organisations to produce a cluster specific Safety Plan for implementation by all parties to address safety concerns, prevent crimes and create safer communities.
The combined Safety Plan will be the shared blueprint between the NHW, CPF, Municipality, SAPS, NGOs, DoCS, spheres of government and affected parties with measurable and achievable outcomes for all to play their respective parts.
The PNP 2015/16 process will kick off in May 2015 and we will have more information in the coming weeks.
Safety is not a destination that will be reached in a single year. It is a journey where we need to ensure that no one is left behind and that everyone travels in the same direction.
The success of PNP 2014/15 and the results showcased today shows that everyone wants to help create safer communities. I am excited for the new PNP 2015/16 process as we continue focusing on creating safer communities, Better Together.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113