Western Cape to get monthly crime stats ensuring better policing oversight and timely safety intervention

Dan Plato, MPP

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety

In order to curb the year on year increases in crime in the Western Cape, following the release of the annual crime statistics on Friday 19 September 2014, I have decided to take the necessary pro-active measures to ensure that we see positive changes in the Western Cape’s crime statistics, reduce crime and create safer communities.

With the full implementation of the Western Cape Community Safety Act, Act 3 of 2013, we can help increase safety in the province through targeted interventions based on intelligence driven operations from the entire safety fraternity.

I have instructed my Department to ensure that all regulations pertaining to the Community Safety Act (3 of 2013) are implemented no later than January 2015.

This includes Section 19.1a (VI) that the Provincial Commissioner must report in writing and within the prescribed time period provide statistical information regarding the number and nature of crimes reported to the police.

I have instructed my Department to specify that the Provincial Commissioner must provide these regular crime statistics on a monthly basis.

Similar regulations will also be drafted to enact Section 21 pertaining to reporting by the executive head of municipal police services – Cape Town’s Metro police.

Crime stats should not belong only to the police but should be used to inform the public of risks in their communities and empower strategic action from the entire safety fraternity.

Friday’s crime statistics clearly showed how the resourced-constrained SAPS in the province are battling to win the battle against crime. It also showed that we need greater cooperation through a whole-of-society approach to increase safety in the province.

This whole-of-society approach needs to be more proactive and intelligence driven.

Annual crime stats are not informing proactive efforts from law enforcement, different spheres of government, the safety fraternity or the community at large. We cannot allow a 3 year delay for implementation of actions to address trends sprouting from our annual statistics.

For instance, last year, then Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, announced the expansion of the Public Order Policing (POP) units as a means to prevent the increasing number of violent and illegal protest around the country. National Commissioner Phiyega only recently announced that the expansion of POP units are to be included in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) going forward with implementation only from the next financial year, dependent on funding availability.

The availability of more regular crime stats will enable the SAPS to speed up their resource responses to crime and empower communities and safety structures to adapt quicker responses as well.

Other provisions under the Community Safety Act which will assist in ensuring better safety service delivery in the province include:

  • Monitoring and evaluation  of the allocation, distribution and use of human and other resources for policing;
  • Inspection of police stations;
  • Directives regarding Community Police Forums (CPFs) and CPF boards; and
  • The establishment of the Police Ombudsman.

The Police Ombudsman will be announced in the next couple of weeks to help build and strengthen the relationship between the police and communities. It will be fully up and running by the end of next month.

We need a whole of society approach where the entire safety value chain plays its part to ensure safety of our communities. The actual number of reported crimes as displayed in the annual crime statistics mean very little if these figures are not used to help inform safety interventions to ultimately reduce crime.

Through the full implementation of the Community Safety Act, the Western Cape will empower the entire safety fraternity towards pro-active action based on intelligence driven interventions with monthly crime stats at its base. Through working Better Together we can make our communities safe again.