Community Policing is a policy and strategy aimed at achieving more effective crime control, reduce fears of crime, improved quality of life, improved police service and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime causing conditions. It allows the police and the community to work closely together to solve problems and fear of crime, physical and social disorder and neighbourhood decay.
In short: Community Policing it is a partnership between the police and the Community to solve safety problems.
What are the objectives of Community Policing?
- By establishing a partnership between the police and the communities they serve to ensure effective protection of communities and a better quality of life.
- Ensuring that the police address the primary needs of the community and are accountable to them.
- Enhancing the quality of information available to the police resulting in the development of a proactive and problem-solving approach to crime and violence.
- Providing communities with a visible, accessible policing presence to enhance public confidence in the police and to deter criminals.
- Aligning the values of the police organization with those of a democratic South Africa, aiming at producing police officers who can interact sensitively with their communities and in a manner that respects local norms and values.
What is a Community Policing Forum?
A Community Policing Forum (CPF) means a forum established in terms of section 19(1) of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995. A CPF is a group of people from different communities and police representatives who meet to discuss safety problems in their communities. A CPF also aims at ensuring police accountability, transparency and effectiveness in the community.
Where will CPFs be established?
At each and every police station in the province.
Who should be consulted and represented in establishing a CPF?
Police Act clearly stipulates that in order to establish a CPF, a Station Commissioner, after consultation with the mayor of the local Municipality or his/her representative, shall:
- Identify community based organisations and interested individuals from the community including representatives of all the groupings within the community, i.e. religious groups, youth groups, political groups, sports clubs, schools and taxi associations. People who are not part of any group or organization also have a right to be included.
- It is also important that the police are well represented i.e. Head of Detective Unit, child unit, etc. The Station Commissioner should always be available at CPF meetings.
What are the functions of CPFs?
As stated in the Police Act, the powers and functions of a CPF in the constitution include:
- Promoting accountability of the local police to your community and co-operation of your community with the local police.
- Monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of the police serving you.
- Evaluate 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 ask questions about local policing matters and request
enquiries when necessary.
What does a CPF constitution entail?
Each CPF should have its own constitution in line with the principles outlined in the Police Act and should include:
- The objective of the forum
- The structure of the forum
- How decisions will be made
- Funding procedures
- Deadlock procedures
What are the roles of Area Boards and Provincial Boards?
The function of both Area and Provincial Boards is to evaluate the functioning of CPFs in the province and to co-ordinate the efforts of CPFs with others in the provinces.
The Provincial Board also ensures that minutes and recommendations of the inputs are passed to the MEC who will then recommend possible changes to laws concerning policing.
Why must I join my local CPF?
Communities are comprised of many different people each with his or her own skills, views and innovative ideas that can make a huge difference in the efficiency and effectiveness of the SA Police Service and the manner social crime prevention is approached in a specific area. Word-of-mouth is an effective tool in spreading a message and informed CPF members can empower their communities to have a say in their own safety and eradicate crime and criminals from their area.
Each one of us wants to live and work without fear of being robbed, raped or attacked. By joining my local CPF you strengthen the human network against evil forces and ensure that I, my family, my neighbours and my community has peace of mind and a safe and secure environment to thrive and prosper in.
How do I join my local CPF?
Go to your local SA Police Station and ask to speak to the Community Policing Officer. He or she will give you the details of the chairperson and when CPF meetings take place.