KIRSTENHOF SAPS VICTIM FRIENDLY SERVICES
In 1995, Cabinet initiated a process for the development of a National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) to address crime and victimization. This was later replaced by the Justice Crime Prevention Strategy (JCPS) in 1999 to broaden the scope. Each department with a mandate to work with victims, including SAPS, developed their own departmental specific plans, Victim Empowerment (VEP) aims to restore the loss and damage caused by criminal acts and their consequences and is premised upon the belief that individuals, families and communities have the right to privacy, safety and human dignity and that victims should play a more central role in the criminal justice process.
KIRSTENHOF POLICE STATION : Coordinated by Melanie and Sandra, our Victim Support facility based at Kirstenhof Police Station is run by volunteers from our community. We aid/support victims of crime and violence referred to us by our local SAPS and sometimes by community NW structures. We fall under the guidance of SAPS and are an extension of the CSC (Community Service Centre, ex Charge Office).
RETREAT RAILWAY POLICE : Our victim friendly room at Retreat Railway Police, within our precinct, is very quiet from our perspective. However, they do call on us when necessary and we send counsellors to assist.
WESTLAKE VICTIM FRIENDLY ROOM : Our Westlake Satellite Victim Friendly room which started at the end of 2016 is ongoing with victims referred mostly by organisations in the community. This room assists the community of Westlake by providing a safe space for victims who find it difficult financially, or otherwise, to access our VEP room at the police station, full-time assistance is offered here.
VOLUNTEERS : At present, we have 22 volunteers on our team, the majority having diplomas or degrees in psychology and we are headed by our VEP officer Sgt. Solomon. Our mandate aims to reduce the negative effects of crime on victims. We provide empathic, person-centred assistance which may include a one-session contact on impact immediately after the incident (e.g. home invasion, robbery, sexual assault, child abuse etc.) and/or counselling/debriefing sessions later to help victims work through emotions, issues and choices. We can take steps to protect victims e.g. sourcing shelters, havens, or a safe place, referral to hospitals, social services, NGO’s and government departments. We can also assist victim’s access information regarding follow up of cases with our SAPS.
OUTREACH : We also run several outreach programmes which are part of our Social Crime Prevention initiatives that have been developed as a result of specific crimes or incidents coming into our station. We run our schools project, trauma training courses including interns from SACAP and various talks, projects and workshops from in house, or from outside sources, for our community.
Trauma Training Courses (for de-briefers/lay counsellors) :We also run our own courses for volunteer lay counsellors who wish to join VEP. Debra heads this and in fact we ran a course at the beginning of this year.
Talks : Debra also runs her very successful ‘Dangers of Social Media’ talks at schools in their life orientation classes and for parent evenings. She has now presented at Kirstenhof Primary, Westlake Primary, Oakley House, Cape Academy, Reddam House and Zwaanswyk Schools.
Schools Project: Our schools project was initiated when we were approached by Sgt. Solomon regarding incidents in our schools, which included drugs, bullying, theft etc. She queried whether VEP could assist by preventing these behaviours from becoming cases at the police station. We had a meeting with the headmaster, where we discovered the school could not afford the services of a counsellor on the staff. Our project started there and now includes four schools where the children are referred by the teachers. Since then there has been a reduction in these incidents coming into the police station.
We would like to thank all organizations and individuals who have donated to VEP, without which we would not be able to support the community as well as we do. We would also like to thank our SAPS for their referrals and ongoing support, especially Sgt. Solomon who always makes herself available to us. We also thank the CPF for their continued support and financial assistance of our programme. – Mrs S Graham
For any assistance please contact the paging service which is available 24hrs on 021-7126699 and request to speak to the counsellor on duty. Below photos of Westlake Satellite Room and Tsidi (counsellor/social worker) who manages the room.
Personal Safety Tips
Be crime conscious – be aware of crime opportunities at all times!
•Never walk around alone and don’t talk to strangers. Be on the lookout for strange cars or people.
•Walk in well-lit busy streets and in a group, if possible.
•Make sure your home is secure, and become a member of an armed response service. Be sure that you know all the emergency numbers or have them displayed in an accessible area.
•Always let someone know where you are going and how long you will be gone. But think twice before advertising your impending absence on social media. Criminals also have access to Facebook and Twitter.
•Know all emergency numbers.
•Trust your instinct.
•Avoid going onto a congested street where you cannot even walk properly, that is where you will find criminals pick pocketing. – Sgt Solomon
Success for April
In the efforts to eradicate crime in the area various operations was conducted by Kirstenhof SAPS which yielded various arrests for the month of April. The dedication and commitment by the members to bring the perpetrators to book was applauded by the station commander Lt Col Cilliers. The following arrests were executed
Housebreaking and theft: 3
Wanted persons: 4
Possession of drugs: 5
Reckless and negligent driving: 3 – Sgt Solomon
Complaints and compliments
A total of 52 residents were polled this month. The survey was conducted by random calls to victims of crime and interviewing of clients entering the community service centre to find out what their experience was like. Outcome: 50 were happy with the service and 2 were unhappy with the follow services from fingerprint department.
A Day in the life of a shift member
I am a policeman and this is my fight. As I tuck in my family and kiss them goodbye I take one last look drawing everything in for I am not sure if I will see them again. I put on my uniform and strap on my vest with pride. I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I affix my gun belt, make sure all is secure I say one final prayer for St Michael to hear.
According to the book of Matthew “Blessed are those who keep the peace” I confront evil every day. Just read your local press release.
I embark on my shift before the birds start to chirp, so much work to be done. Writing reports, dockets chasing a felon with a gun. For each shift is different. I have to stay mentally prepared for each crime that I pursue.
The things I have seen would surpass your worst nightmare. Some things are too horrific and to graphic for me to share. The sheer evil that exists is far from the decline. Just be glad there’s a select few who out their lives on the line.
Because the only thing required for evil in this world to win, is for good men to do nothing. This is a far greater sin. Yet this responsibility comes at a great sacrifice. There’s a permanent target on our back, some of us pay the ultimate price. I’ve lost some good friends over the years. Victims of divorce, corruption and their families being harassed, accidents, suicides and depression. I thank God everyday these things have not happened to me.
Sure we have our share of corruption but it pales in comparison to the attorney, the athlete the politician. The numbers speak for themselves. Less than one half will disgrace our badge and gun. So be cautious and careful of the stories on TV that paint a negative picture of my brothers, sisters and me. For we ride the thin blue line, making life and death choices every day. My split decision will be criticized in every way.
Until you walk in my shoes and see what I’ve seen. You can’t imagine the stress on my scene. Although we are on a pedestal we are people just like you. On the outside we may bleed red but deep down we bleed blue.
At last it’s the end on my shift, finally time to see my family. I walk into each bedroom and kiss my family goodnight so thankful to God that I’ve survived another shift. With all the controversy and assumptions, you may not like what I do but at the end of the day I will lay my life for you. – Writer UNKNOWN
Important Contact details:
Sector 1 Commander: Warrant Officer Leon Voget 0798941477
Sector 2 Commander: Sergeant Lucy Muller 0798941438