Making Parkview police more accountable
Although all categories of crime in the Parkview precinct are up for the 2018/19 year when compared with the previous year (as per figures given in the recent Northcliff Melville Times), figures for the first 5 months of the 2019/20 period are down when compared to 2018/19.
At the recent AGM of the Parkview Community Policing Forum (CPF), District Commissioner of SAPS, Major General Masha, gave the meeting some tips on how to keep the police accountable. He encouraged members of the public to phone the shift commander cell number: 071 675-6065. The Station Commander can then trace who was on duty and hold the relief commander responsible.
He had heard that often charge office operators refuse to give their names. Complaints about this should be escalated to the relief commander.
He said that Parkview police station has sufficient police vehicles but the challenge was ‘keeping them on the road’. A normal service can keep a vehicle off the road for a week or two, while it can take 3-4 weeks to change a battery. He conceded that government’s policy of paying after 30 days could be the problem and urged community members to find a solution.
The General was impressed at the way in which Parkview police are working closely with the security companies (including the use of licence plate recognition (LPR) cameras) and praised the resourcefulness of the latter. He also stated that Parkview’s murder rate was ‘so low’ when compared to other precincts.
However he was concerned that the standard reaction time to complaints from members of the public was 20 minutes. He urged those at the police station to do all they could to reduce this to 10 minutes.
Another worry was that relief commanders are sergeants whereas they should be Captains.
The most serious problem was that while often criminals are arrested, when they are released they then commit crimes again. He reported some progress in Sophiatown where pastors are working with prisoners who ‘are finding God’ and once they are released are no longer committing crimes.
Meanwhile the City will host a big meeting on 25 October to decide on a strategy for displaced persons.
They will base this on the Cape Town model of Safe Spaces. Three places have been identified in the inner city.