Auxiliary volunteers help tackle crime

Sean Murray gave a presentation about the Citys new auxiliary law enforcement inspectors.

City law enforcement volunteers are helping to tackle crime in the city, the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA) annual general meeting heard last week.

Just over 50 people attended the meeting at the Alphen Centre, on Thursday October 18.

Sean Murray, of the City’s law enforcement, said their auxiliary volunteers initiative was similar to the SAPS reservist programme.

Mr Murray said he had been part of the initiative for five years after seeing a need to patrol at night, supporting the police, neighbourhood watch patrollers and security companies.

It was especially important to patrol the green belts, he said, noting that criminals often exchanged drugs there for information about residents.

“We’ve found that when blue lights (on vehicles) are introduced to an area crime statistics drop,” said Mr Murray.

Mr Murray said the idea of auxiliary officers had been accepted in Bishop’s Court but not in Constantia.

The Bulletin asked the Constantia Watch for comment about the auxiliary initiative and office manager Susan Caine said the watch had started the programme in Constantia when it had entered into two legal agreements with the City’s director of safety and security.

“The agreements obliged Constantia Watch, with assistance from BKM (Bergvliet Kreupelbosch Meadowridge) Watch at their own cost, to lease two vehicles branded and equipped as law enforcement vehicles. These were stationed and deployed from Constantia Watch’s offices in Constantia.

“The first contract has run its three year course and that vehicle has been returned to the lessor. The second agreement in respect of the second vehicle expires early next year. The second sponsored vehicle is still on the road and deployed from the offices of Constantia Watch,” said Ms Caine.

“ConstantiaWatchand BKM Watch supported the law enforcement programme from inception and to this day still support it. By the time the contracts have expired, Constantia Watch and BKM Watch will have contributed substantially to the law enforcement programme, which is entirely controlled and, other than our contributions, funded by the City and manned by volunteers,” said Ms Caine.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, said members of the public could register as volunteers to perform and assist with law enforcement duties.

The first batch of 16 volunteers was deployed in November 2013 after undergoing training at the Metro Police College and they now have 452 auxiliary officers who put in an about 16 hours a month.

The auxiliary inspectors will act as first-line supervisors, after completing training in a number of facets including human resources procedures, City policies and the Criminal Procedure Act.

Mr Smith said there would be an additional intake of 280 officers this year. CRRA chairwoman Sheila Camerer told last week’s meeting it was important for residents to join ratepayers’ associations so they could be part of decisions affecting their neighbourhoods. The associations needed support (financial and other) to oppose inappropriate development in order to conserve Constantia’s character.

They also helped with service delivery problems and kept residents informed about happenings in the community. To join, visit www.crra.co.za