News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

SAPS frustrating City crime fighting plan, says Mayco member


The SAPS is thwarting the City of Cape Town’s plans to recruit and train an initial 100 law enforcement reservists in order to combat crime, says Safety and Security Mayoral Committee Member Jean-Pierre Smith.

Smith said the City planned to recruit law enforcement reservists from existing neighbourhood watches who would work in uniform and enforce City by-laws as a means of supplementing SAPS work.

Funding in the region of R2m was available and legal opinion had been sought on the proposal which had been submitted to the SAPS in the Western Cape in November last year.

But despite several follow-ups there had been no response from provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer, said Smith.

The proposal was “totally do-able”, he said, with the funding available for stipends, vehicles, uniforms and equipment for an initial 100 reservists in the first year, with plans to bump up the number of reservists to 200 later on.

A reservist force of this nature would have a “massive impact” and allow communities to regain control of their streets.

“Existing Neighbour Hood Watches (NHWs) already do good work in many communities, but the reservist programme will give them real powers and also compel them to professionalise themselves and work in a more structured and supervised manner,” he said.

However, he said the lack of response from the SAPS was frustrating the plan.

“It’s frustrating to do something and get blocked. We could have been in the second batch (of recruiting law enforcement reservists).”

The City’s Safety and Security training college would be able to train 30 to 40 law enforcement reservist officers every three months, resulting in about 120 trained reservists per year.

We could increase this to 200 and we have provided additional training staff in the new budget that kicks in on 1 July.”

He said in the pilot phase townships that had been earmarked to start with programme were Nyanga and Mitchell’s Plain.

Cape Town Community Policing Forum (CPF) chair Henry Giddy said the CPF was also frustrated at the plan being delayed.

Giddy said because there were “less and less” police resource they anticipated the law enforcement reservist programme would be critical in assisting crime prevention.

He said the last follow-up with the SAPS over the matter had been made on May 28 only to be told by the SAPS’ Western Cape Deputy Provincial Commissioner of Operational Services, Peter Jacobs that the project proposal had been sent to the Police’s national department for legal review as the provincial police could not approve it themselves.

He said Jacobs informed them that provincial office supported the programme but their legal department wanted to check a specific clause in the SAPS Act before signing off.

Lamoer refused to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday.

“From the SAPS side I have no comment on this,” said Lamoer. – Peter Luhanga

Tags: Arno Lamoer, Cape Town Community Policing Forum (CPF), City of Cape Town, Existing Neighbour Hood Watches (NHWs), Henry Giddy, Jean Pierre Smith, Mitchell’s Plain, Nyanga, Peter Jacobs, saps

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