BLOEMFONTEIN – Today the Department of Police adopted a different approach to the manner in which National Police Day is celebrated. The focus of the events of the day, which will also take place in all provinces shortly, were directed towards reaching out to – and improving relationships with – our communities.
Under the guidance of the Deputy Minister of Police, Ms MM Sotyu and the National Police Commissioner, General MV Phiyega, five schools in the Botshabelo and Boithuso areas were visited today. This was done in order to enhance the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed between the Departments of Police and Education in 2011 with a view to strengthening the Safe Schools Programme. This Programme envisions ensuring that all schools in the country are linked to all 1 134 police stations and that school governing bodies and the SAPS work closely to ensure that our schools are safe and secure havens of learning.
The schools visited today were – Popana, Reamohetse, Seemahale, Lefikeng and Ntumediseng.
The Government’s vision on community policing, as captured in the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Crime Prevention Strategy, places an obligation on the South African Police Service to focus on, inter alia, crime prevention and detection as well as working in partnership with the community.
The SAPS therefore developed a National Community Outreach Framework to standardise and guide all community outreach programmes within the SAPS and to focus on a more community-centred approach to policing. The rationale for this project is to transform National Police Day into a community outreach project intended to have a direct impact on a community orientated style of policing. This will be achieved through crime awareness projects, community education programmes and by addressing the causes of crime and through other related interventions.
The National launch illustrates a Community Outreach Framework which includes community projects intended to enhance police-community relationships, mobilise the general community to participate in crime prevention initiatives and programmes, and educate the public about crime and criminality through musical and other artistic activities. The roll-outs of these community outreach programmes will follow in all other provinces.
The effective implementation of these plans will aim to contribute to:
- Improving the functionality of community police forum structures;
- Enhancing the functionality of sector policing;
- Educating communities about policing;
- Maximizing the involvement of communities in crime prevention initiatives;
- Improving police-community relationships;
- Improving the image of the SAPS among communities;
- Reducing crime in South Africa;
- Improving confidence in policing;
- Capacity building and skills retention within the SAPS.
This proactive approach to crime prevention and detection will use music to facilitate communication between the police and communities; focusing particularly on the youth as the youth is more likely to be involved in or affected by crime, either as perpetrators or victims. The musical, artistic and cultural activities envisaged will be integrated with other community outreach programmes that will be tailored for the targeted communities.
“Today can be regarded as a milestone in the approach of the SAPS to community policing. A more structured, centralized and focussed approach will enable all members of the SAPS to understand and have the relevant guidance to implement and execute effective and efficient community outreach programmes all over the country in a uniform and structured way,” said General Riah Phiyega.
The Deputy Minister of Police, Ms MM Sotyu, said: “By launching this community outreach plan and rolling out of the school outreach project on our National Police Day, we are enabling the community and police to work together to create a safe environment, especially for our children. We all know that parents and teachers alike want to ensure that every school environment is conducive to the safety and security of our children”.
Active participation in crime prevention is the responsibility of every member of the community and it is encouraged by SAPS because someone, somewhere, somehow, knows something about crime in their area, irrespective of their age or gender.