Western Cape's Policing Needs and Priorities Announced
Media Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
In abiding by our constitutional mandate, which requires each province to determine its own policing needs and priorities, which are provided to the National Minister of Police in order to develop policing policies, today we publicly release the Policing Needs and Priorities Report for the Western Cape for 2011/2012.
I will now actively engage with the National Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, about how best to implement these needs and priorities by requesting a meeting with the minister and will raise the issue of provincial needs and priorities at the next MinMEC.
While it is common cause that the SAPS falls under the control of the National Minister of Police and that the Western Cape Government has no control over the day-to-day running of SAPS, Section 206 (2) of the South African Constitution explicitly states that "the National policing policy may make provision for different policies in respect of different provinces after taking into account the policing needs and priorities of these provinces".
By provinces identifying their own needs and priorities, scarce resources can be properly allocated to maximise efficiency and ensure that various priority areas receive adequate attention. By failing to do so, a "one-size-fits-all" approach will not be able to address the unique problems affecting our communities.
In drafting this report and working according to our philosophy of Better Together, the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) consulted with communities across the province during the 2011/2012 financial year. A household survey with a sample size of 13 347 households was conducted, CPFs from the 25 police precincts were invited to take part in focus group discussions, and we conducted stakeholder interviews with leaders from business, the religious sector, farmers' organisations, NGOs and research institutions on the Western Cape Community Police Board. The report also includes real performance information which is gathered during structured oversight visits, regular police station evaluations and through "watching briefs" on criminal cases involving SAPS members, which are focused attempts to identify some of the systemic weaknesses.
In light of the findings of the policing needs and priorities research and final document, the policing needs and priorities for the Western Cape include:
- The deployment of specialised drug and gang units by SAPS.
- The development of a monitoring and evaluation framework with short-, medium- and long-term targets to address drug-related crime in the province.
- Public awareness and education campaigns about the Witness Protection Programme in order to instil a sense of trust in the criminal justice system.
- Full implementation of sector policing to improve police visibility particularly between 18:00 and 00:00 as the majority of the participants indicated.
- Continuous capacity building of all the CPFs in the Western Cape Province in order to improve the CPF functionality levels.
- Recruitment, training and retraining of more detectives.
- Inclusion of domestic violence as one of the crime categories in the national crime statistics.
- Better policing of public transport nodes.
- The need for a SAPS road incident expert that is readily available in the Western Cape to examine vehicles involved in crashes to determine causes of road accidents.
- Better regulation of liquor trading particularly in the residential areas. Alcohol has been identified as one of the main contributors to serious and violent crime in this province.
- Reward police officers for the hard work and excellent service rendered to the community and the victims of crime.
Thanks to the valuable contribution of communities, CPFs, Neighbourhood Watches, experts and organisations in the Western Cape, this report has become the consultative and comprehensive report that it is. I have already couriered copies of this document to the National Police Minister for consideration when determining the national policing policy. We will be monitoring to what degree our PNPs are integrated into the National Policing Policy with regards to the Western Cape, because we do have unique needs which require responsive policing.
The Department of Community Safety's strategic objective is to increase safety in the Western Cape. In order to achieve this objective, one of our focus areas is effective civilian oversight over the police; however, our strategy is also based on the understanding that increasing safety can never be a function of police only. Every person should take responsibility for her/his own safety and should contribute to the safety of all other people. As my Head of Department, Dr Gilbert Lawrence said, "The levels of crime are still unacceptably high in the province (and) the nature of these crimes indicates that SAPS or any other government department or civil society organisation on its own, will not be able to address the challenge of crime."
It is therefore important that government and civil society also consider the content of the report to understand the safety concerns that exist in our communities and to develop adequate responses within their fields of responsibilities.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 072 623 4499