Participation key, say cops

Residents, neighbourhood watch members and security companies attended the police imbizo.

Table View police station commander, Colonel Dirk Vosloo, had some positive news for the residents of Table View at an imbizo held last week.

The police station is one of the top performing stations in the country and Colonel Vosloo says they would not have been able to achieve this if it wasn’t for the help of the community. “For me this (public participation) is a massive thing. If it wasn’t for the assistance of the community, we as SAPS would not have been able to grind out the results that we have. We need the community as much as the community needs us,” said Colonel Vosloo.

An imbizo is a gathering where SAPS and the community come together and engage with each other on crime-related matters. The residents can speak to SAPS about the concerns they have and SAPS can also share the work they are doing to combat crime and delve into the crime stats for the area.

At the imbizo residents said there is a sense of lawlessness in communities – a sentiment Colonel Vosloo was quick to agree on. “Nowadays people are not scared of teachers, their parents and the police. Back in my day, if I spoke back to my mother, my father – who was also a policeman – would have given me a hiding. But these days, that is against the law. If a child opens a case of assault against their parents, I have to take that case. People do not respect authority anymore,” said Colonel Vosloo.

Residents also said they feel targeted by culprits from other areas simply because of where they live. Colonel Vosloo said that unfortunately, people from other areas see these areas as places where rich people live.

Table View SAPS communications officer, Captain Adriana Chandler, explained how important it was to have these type of meetings. “From my perspective I found that a meeting like this is very important. The community get to hear what the station commander has to say. We speak about crime and all the factors that affect policing. I find that it’s vital for the community to attended. They get to ask the questions they want to ask,” said Captain Chandler.

The message that was evident to all who participated was that people must not only complain, they also have to participate in these types of discussions to find solutions.

SAPS urged the community to attend events like these so they can find out how they can make a difference.

“It’s important that they play an active role and be the eyes and the ears. SAPS cannot fight the fight alone, we need the community,” said Captain Chandler.

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