Today Premier Alan Winde and Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, visited Hanover Park to see first-hand the work of the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers since their deployment last year.
Premier Winde said: "Since becoming Premier, safety has been a key concern of mine. In my State of the Province Address last year, I committed to making safety a priority for this government. Covid-19 may have impacted some of our programmes, but I remain committed to ensuring that residents of our province feel safer.
“It is for this reason that we have stuck with our plans to roll out the next 500 LEAP officers in the Western Cape. During my visit today, I announced that the first 250 of these officers will begin training in April, to be deployed in July. The next 250 will begin training in July, for deployment this coming October."
Once they have been trained, the LEAP officers will form part of our Area Based Teams (ABT) which will ultimately be rolled out in 16 crime hotspots in the province, supporting SAPS and other law enforcement agencies in crime prevention. Hanover Park will have the first Area Based Team.
Premier Winde said: "In addition to these deployments, our Safety Plan also committed to violence prevention strategies. We are working closely with the City of Cape Town and different policing agencies to bring this component into our area based teams. I am pleased that the violence prevention advisory board, made up of experts in this field, sat for the first time today as well."
Premier Winde will make further statements on the Western Cape Government's safety commitments during his SOPA address on 17 February.
"I was pleased to hear during our visit today that SAPS, Metro Police, and our LEAP officers have developed an excellent working relationship which is really benefiting the community in the area. These officers are, together with SAPS and Metro police in the area, making this community safer through increased police visibility, and by removing drugs and dangerous weapons, and arresting violent criminals," Premier Winde said.
Since their deployment in February 2020, they have made 153 arrests for crimes including possession of firearms (4 arrests), possession of illegal ammunition (2 arrests), possession of dangerous weapons (25 arrests), rape and sexual assault (1 arrest each), theft (6 arrests), dealing in drugs (2 arrests), domestic violence (3 arrests) and assault (3 arrests).
During their deployment, they have searched over 9000 people, almost 200 houses and 350 vehicles. They have also conducted 103 autonomous operations, 30 integrated operations and 37 joint operations with SAPS.
Minister Fritz said: “I am incredibly proud of the work that our LEAP officers, together with our SAPS officers, are doing in Hanover Park. In October 2020, we redeployed our LEAP officers to several of the most crime afflicted communities in our province and Hanover Park has seen the benefit of this. This is demonstrated in the fact that Hanover Park has gone nearly a month without a shooting incident. There is also a sense of increased safety in the community and gratitude among residents for the joint efforts of SAPS and LEAP.”
Minister Fritz added, “These interventions will be boosted further by the launch of our Area Based Teams (ABT) initiative, later this month, starting in Hanover Park. The ABT model aims to pool together safety resources such as our neighbourhood watches, CPFs, walking buses, police and law enforcement and other safety stakeholders to ensure that they can respond to crime by taking a data-driven and evidence-based approach. The ABT methodology emphasises that data-led evidence guides interventions. It will be an institutional mechanism that both coordinates and monitors all government interventions in the particular area and operationalizes service delivery interventions.”
Mayoral Committee member for Safety at the City of Cape Town, Alderman JP Smith said: "Our LEAP officers really care about the communities they serve. When I hear them talk about the arrests they make, it is not merely a tick box exercise for the job- our officers take pride in what they do and care that there is one less firearm on the street, and one less drug dealer ruining lives. Our Law Enforcement officers care about the people in the communities they serve and want to see them transform into safe environments, that we can all live in more peacefully."