Intelligence key to curbing crime

JP Smith addresses a meeting with the Milnerton CPF.

The Milnerton Community Police Forum (CPF) and the City law enforcement agencies are putting brain over brawn in the fight against crime.

Speaking at the CPF meeting at the Milnerton police station on Tuesday June 14, JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the City’s focus on policing was more “intelligence driven”, because visible policing was a “placebo” that did little to curb crime.

Mr Smith said possible changes to laws governing the Metro police would leave them with little to no power to fight crime.

He said a white paper containing amendments to the SA Police Service Act, was due to go before the national government’s SAPS portfolio committee early next year.

He fears such amendments could render the Metro police impotent and has vowed to go all the way to the Constitutional Court to fight them.

“We will beat them at the Constitutional Court, but that is a debate for a different place,” said Mr Smith.

He said the Emergency and Policing Incident Command (EPIC), an integrated call-logging and dispatch system; dashboard cameras, licence plate recognition (LPR) and IT innovation were all part of a high-tech arsenal doing “reasonably well” in the fight against crime.

The City had also had “mass information sessions” with neighbourhood watches giving them 8 000 hand radios. The watches, themselves, had added 500 cameras to the LPR network, which the SAPS also “plugs into”.

They would also be getting 1 000 new cellphones linked to EPIC, which Mr Smith said would spread resources more effectively and improve the coordination of services.

Mr Smith stressed that more education on alcohol use was needed, as it was at the root of many other serious social problems in Milnerton.

“I don’t think drugs do as much damage as liquor. The ludicrous amount of motor accidents caused and high number of people suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome is because alcohol is cheaply available. We have to find better ways of tackling it,” said Mr Smith.

CPF sector 3 chairman Peter Adrianatos said CPF members who had lodged objections to a recent application for a liquor licence were threatened with law suits by the applicant, and they claimed they had received no support from the designated liquor officer (DLO) with their objection.

“It’s frustrating to substantiate an objection and we don’t get co-operation from the DLO.

“I have been fighting the battle, and it’s dangerous when we don’t get assistance. Threats are happening because the personal information of objectors is being given out,” said Mr Adrianatos.

South African Local Government Association (SALGA) representative for the Western Cape Liquor Licensing Tribunal, Taki Amira, responded to Mr Adrianatos saying objectors’ names and contact information are redacted to protect their privacy.

“Information is not shared, but I cannot comment further because I am too intricately involved to comment on the situation.

“I advise you to start keeping a paper trail on complaints to include in your objections against applications.

“If you support an application but want certain conditions to be attached, say so. But you need to motivate your objections. Don’t say that the application encourages homelessness in your objection.

“If you do (mention it), then keep record of it and attach it in your motivation,” said Mr Amira.