08 October, 2010

Sector Policing Is Here!

Introduction to Sector Policing

On Monday evening (04.10.2010) I attended the Linden Community Policing Forum Sector 3 inception meeting. It was well attended by representatives from Sector 3. Despite the fact that we (RERA) now fall into Sector 1, this meeting was still very valuable. The change of Robindale East from Sector 3 to Sector 1 took place at a prior meeting, to which we were not invited. The rational for this is included in a prior posting (see here http://robindale-east.blogspot.com/2010/10/robindale-included-in-sector-1-of.html).

At the commencement of the meeting we were introduced to a number of role-players, as follows:

• Colonel Mohale (Station Commander)

• Captain Vermaak (Head of Crime Prevention and Sector Policing)

• Jadd Harding (Chairman of the Linden Community Policing Forum / LCPF)

• George Bezuidenhout (Head of Reservists)

• Shaun Scott (Vice-Chairman of the Linden Community Policing Forum / LCPF)

• WO Bokkie Kildare (Head of Sector 3)

• WO Walter Spencer (Head of Sector 1)

• Martin Opperman (who arranged these meetings – thank you)

Please note: apologies for spelling or inaccuracies, as I didn’t get all the details.

Colonel Mohale was introduced by Martin Opperman. The Colonel did a brief introduction, stating that Sector Policing:

• Is about sub-dividing the precinct into more manageable, smaller, units

• Understanding what the community requires from SAPS

• SAPS cannot meet everyone in the community, hence the need for champions who can speak on behalf of the community

• Sector Heads have the same powers as the Colonel, for their particular Sector

Captain Vermaak then addressed the community and introduced himself. He has been in the area for 23 years, 7 of which have been at Linden SAPS, and is passionate about Sector Policing. It is not a new concept and seems to have its origins in the USA c1986. In 2003 a National Instruction relating to Sector Policing was drafted but it was never approved. In 2009, it was approved as National Instruction (3 of 2009), and subsequently its execution and deployed commenced. It is a strategic intent to address crime, as part of the national objective to reduce crime by 50% in 5 years.

Implementing Sector Policing at Linden CPF

The first steps at Linden SAPS to deploying Sector Policing was to implement the necessary staffing structures, which is now complete, albeit with a number of vacancies (projected to be 27 based on current strategies and statistics). Furthermore, projects and programmes to address root causes have been implemented and are underway – these have been prioritised and will remain in force.

The benefits of Sector Policing, Captain Vermaak went on to say, was that the National Instruction gives legal substance to addressing and preventing crime, and, very importantly, budget has been allocated for this purpose. Furthermore, he suggested that large business should become involved in these initiatives (in Sector 1 we have MNet and Roche, as well as a number of other smaller enterprises).

It is important to note, Captain Vermaak stated, that Sector Policing is not politically motivated. The local councillor does not have jurisdiction over Sector Policing – a ward committee is already in place to address matters relating to politics.

Operation of the Sector

Each Sector will have a constitution relative to that Sector, and a team, from the community, will be appointed to mobilise in that Sector. Team members will participate in operational activities, the mobilisation of fellow community members, as well as be willing to participate. A key ingredient from the community is creativity in addressing and preventing crime. Captain Vermaak stated that many of the pre-existing tactics may no longer be effective or suitable, hence the community providing inputs.

The success of Sector Policing lies in addressing localized problems with tactics suitable to that community. For example, Capt Vermaak stated that the approach and tactics employed in Windsor would not be suitable in another suburb like Robindale. The role of Sector Policing is to work closely with the Sector community to define and deploy suitable tactics for addressing localized issues. Additionally, the Sector must collaborate with other government agencies and role-players in addressing matters affecting the community. An example that was cited was blocking a liquor license from being approved in a certain neighbourhood. It is not SAPS’ role to prevent the issue of liquor licenses.

Community Involvement

Before going onto the protocols and appointment of champions (for Sector 3), Captain Vermaak reiterated the need for people to become champions and involved. Sector 3, like our area, is victim to apathy of the residents, not wishing to get involved. I have personally witnessed the apathy in our area, having on numerous occasions dropped pamphlets in post boxes in my streets with approximately 2 responses out of 60 pamphlets! The moment there is an incident, however, there is a massive outcry – its too late then!

Reporting Protocol

The following reporting protocol for crime incidents has been estabaloished as part of Sector Policing:

1st. Press your panic button to alert your security company – and then . . .

2nd. Call the your security service provider’s call centre – and then . . .

3rd. Call the Patrol Vehicle assigned to your Sector (numbers listed below) – and then . . .

4th. Call 10111

It was strongly requested that you do not contact the station directly – Linden SAPS does not have a fully fledged call centre. Some additional items to note is that 10111 receives 3000 calls per hour. If you contact them from your landline (as opposed to from your mobile), your address immediately becomes available to them.

What To Report

In terms of the reporting protocol noted above, it is important to determine what should be reported. Any offences or crimes related to the by-laws, such as damage to public trees (for example the municipal trees on your pavement or trees in parks) noise, litter, traffic, etc. are not to be reported to the Sector Patrol vehicle. These offences fall under the jurisdiction of the JMPD, and should be reported to them accordingly.

However, anything relating to a crime such a burglary, theft, robbery, murder, serious assault, rape, hi-jacking, etc. must be reported to the Sector Patrol vehicle, even if it is after the event.

It is also important to note that attempted crimes must be reported to the Sector Patrol Vehicle. For example, wall hoppings MUST be reported, even if you feel that no crime was perpetrated. Capt. Vermaak explained that if all wall hoppings are reported upon, then patterns can be established, and from these patterns crimes can be prevented. He went on to explain that if crimes, attempted crimes and suspicious behaviour are not reported, it could have a direct impact on the Linden SAPS’ budget and resourcing, as it would then appear that the neighbourhood has a ‘clean bill of health’ and doesn’t require more resources. In closing Capt. Vermaak stated that you should rather report the incident to the Sector Patrol Vehicle and let SAPS decide if it is significant enough to report on.

Sector Patrol Vehicles’ Contact Numbers

Please be advised that these numbers are not active as yet, but take note of them in the interim:

• Sector 1 – 071 675 6044

• Sector 2 – 071 675 6047

• Sector 3 – 071 675 6049

• Sector 4 – 071 675 6050

Champions for Sector 1

The champions for Sector 1 have not been fully finalised, owing to the recent changes in the demarcations. A meeting is being proposed for 14.10.2010 at 9:30, at Linden SAPS for determining the Sector 1 Champions. I realise this is during office hours, however I urge you to try attend. I have put my name forward as a champion already.

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