Gauteng On a Mission to Build Safer Communities

Pretoria — The Gauteng Provincial Government says it has adopted a comprehensive Provincial Policing Plan to turn the tide on crime in the province.

"The plan seeks to strengthen and enhance leadership and managerial capacity to effectively and efficiently reduce the current high levels of crime to manageable levels.

"It also proposes the reduction of crime and road fatalities by 50% in priority stations and 15 hazardous locations," the Gauteng Department of Community Safety said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement follows last week's State of the Province Address by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, which provided the basis for the provincial government's Programme of Action for the year.

Unpacking the Provincial Policing Plan

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety identified 40 poor performing policing precincts from the 2015/16 crime statistics. Officials used these stats to come up with the policing plan.

The plan has three focus areas, which include increasing the deployment of police and visibility. The plan proposes increasing personnel and patrol vehicles, improving citizen perception towards crime as well as reducing trio (carjacking, house robbery and business robbery) and sexual crimes.

The second focus area is managing crime related to alcohol and drug abuse. The plan proposes to ensure that taverns and shebeens in high crime areas adhere to by-laws and liquor trading regulations. It also proposes reducing illegal shebeens by 50%.

The third focus area is a 50% reduction of pedestrian road fatalities.

The department, working with the South African Police Service and other relevant departments, will continue to conduct substance abuse and crime prevention initiatives, including regular school searches, drug testing, substance abuse awareness campaigns and the establishment of school safety desks.

A prison tour programme will also be undertaken to discourage youth from getting involved in crime. Learners will be trained as safety ambassadors, and referrals will be made to rehabilitation centres for those in need. There will also be an aftercare programme where former addicts can receive skills development.

Drugs

The department, through the Gauteng Law Enforcement Agencies Forum (GLEAF), has established the Drugs Task Team.

Since its formation in April last year, the task team has recorded a number of successes including 505 arrests, securing 265 convictions and closing down two drug laboratories.

"We have put systems in place to address the challenges faced by these groups, which include the establishment of women desks, men as safety promoters, elderly desks, youth desks as well as Ikhaya Lethemba skills development programme where upon exit from the centre, survivors of abuse are [can be] self-reliant.

"We are also steadfast in addressing the stigma and challenges facing the LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex] community," the department said.

Strengthening community policing

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety said community policing is the first line of defence and a force multiplier in ensuring that streets and homes are safe.

"If this first line of defence is weak and not properly resourced or capacitated, we will not win the battle against crime.

"We need to get back into patrolling the streets of our townships, escorting vulnerable residents to bus stops and taxi ranks, especially in the early hours of the morning and dark hours of the night when residents come back from work," the department said.

SOURCE: http://www.sanews.gov.za/