Kirstenhof police station’s partnerships with the community police forum and other groups have helped to keep crime low in the precinct, but this very success could see the station lose staff to high-crime areas says Kirstenhof Community Police Forum chairman Geoff Bettison.
“A major concern is the reducing staff levels at Kirstenhof SAPS due to the station being a property-related crime station, members are being posted to other crime hot-spot areas. However, fraud and assaults remain a problem within the Kirstenhof precinct and fraud being a cybercrime is difficult to police,” said Mr Bettison, during the CPF’s annual general meeting, at the station, on Tuesday November 15.
A cut in state funding to the CPF hurt its capabilities to perform its function, he said.
“The discontinuation of the very effective online expanded partnership programme, which allowed the CPF to implement an agreed and approved oversight procedure in return for funding is a major setback for CPFs,” he said.
The funding from the provincial Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety had been reduced from R40 000 per annum to a maximum of R5 000 per annum, he said, adding that unless that was urgently addressed “the ability for CPFs to operate effectively and get support from communities will remain severely impacted”.
CPF projects that supported the Kirstenhof police station would be jeopardised because of the funding shortage, he said.
Station commander Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Jones said the station had lost several staff due to promotions and transfers and they had yet to be replaced.
“In February this year, we welcomed Captain Xolani Ntlaba, who was appointed as the station’s support head commander.
“Lieutenant Colonel Paul Alexander has been appointed as the branch commander of Muizenberg detective branch and will be taking up his post on December 1. This is good news but a great loss to the branch.
“With the recent promotions, the post of Vispol commander and branch commander will be vacant and will be hopefully advertised in the new financial year.
“In the interim, Warrant Officer Leon Voget will be acting Vispol commander and Warrant Officer Pierre Theron the acting branch commander.”
Lieutenant Colonel Jones vowed to push for the station to get the resources it needed.
“If we look at the station’s resource allocation we are supposed to be a strength of 84 members but currently we are 62 members. Five members have been transferred to other stations. We currently have eight reservists who complete their 16 mandatory hours a month. However, these vacant posts mean an increase of workload on the members that are at the station,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Jones said there had been two murders in the precinct from April to September, including one that happened at Pollsmoor prison, and arrests had been made in both cases.
Contact-related crimes were down by 37%, serious crimes were down by 7%, aggravated robbery was down 22% and priority crimes were down by 6%. However, property-related crime was up by 39%.
Mr Bettison encouraged the community to report all cases of theft and crime regardless of how petty the crime was. “Otherwise we stand the chance of losing more SAPS members from the low crime stations to be redeployed to high crime areas,” he warned.