WHAT IS COMMUNITY POLICING?
Community Policing is a strategy aimed at achieving more effective crime control, reducing fears of crime, improving quality of life, and improving police service and legitimacy. These goals are achieved through a proactive reliance on community resources, seeking to improve crime causing conditions. The police and the community are encouraged to work closely together to solve problems of crime, physical and social disorder, and neighbourhood decay.
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES OF COMMUNITY POLICING?
- Establishing a partnership between police and the communities they serve, ensuring effective protection of communities and a better quality of life.
- Ensuring the police address the primary needs of the community, and are accountable to these needs.
- Enhancing the quality of information available to the police to develop a proactive and problem-solving approach to crime and violence.
- Providing communities with a visible and accessible policing presence.
- Enhancing the public’s confidence in the police and deterring criminals.
- Aligning the values of the police organisation with those of democratic South Africa
- Inspiring police officers who can interact sensitively with their communities and in a manner that respects local values.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY POLICE FORUM (CPF)?
A Community Police Forum is a group of people from different communities and police representatives who meet to discuss safety problems in their communities. They aim at ensuring police accountability, transparency, and effectiveness in the community. CPFs are established in terms of section 19(1) of the S.A.P. S. Act, Act 68 of 1995.
WHERE ARE COMMUNITY POLICE FORUMS ESTABLISHED?
At each and every police station in the province.
WHO SHOULD BE CONSULTED IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CPF?
Our country’s Constitution clearly stipulates that in order to establish a CPF, a Station Commissioner shall identify community based organisations and interested individuals, after consulting with the mayor or his/her representative of the local Municipality. This includes representatives from all facets within the community, i.e. religions groups, political groups, sports clubs, schools, and taxi associations. People who are not part of any group or organisation also have a right to be included.
It is important that the police are well represented with the heads of the different divisions represented (Visible Policing, Crime Prevention, Detective, etc.) The Station Commissioner should always be available at CPF meetings.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF CPFS?
- Promotion of accountability of the local police to the community, and cooperation of the community with the local police.
- Monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of the police serving the community.
- Examination and advice on local policing priorities.
- Evaluation of the provision of services such as:
- Distribution of resources
- The way complaints and charges are handled
- Patrolling of residential and business areas
- Keeping records, writing reports and making recommendations to the Station Commissioners, the Provincial Commissioner and the MEC.
- The CPF will make questions available regarding local policing matters, and allow enquiries when necessary.