New boots on the beat

The new recruits with Cape Town Central station commander, Brigadier Hansia Hansraj, and head of visible policing, Colonel Andre Coetzee.

Cape Town Central police station has been allocated 40 new recruits, 24 of whom were inducted on Monday
February 3.

The other 16 recruits are still working at other stations and will join Cape Town Central at a later stage.

The new recruits will form part of crime prevention and visibility operations.

As the constables were addressed at the station, they were repeatedly warned by the station’s management of misconduct and the station’s zero tolerance approach to corruption.

Cape Town Central station commander Brigadier Hansia Hansraj said the station was responsible for the city centre, which included lots of activity, events, marches, and large numbers of people commuting to the area every day.

Brigadier Hansraj said: “Our crime is in high volumes – the most crime is reported here due to the demographics and tourist attractions. Therefore, you have to be professional, dignified and disciplined. You have to work hard.”

She said the station was fast paced and the new officers had to be energised. The officers are required to do an annual fitness test. But most importantly, she said, they have to be disciplined.

Brigadier Hansraj said: “Wear your uniform with pride and always represent the SAPS in a dignified manner wherever you are. It’s your pride as a police officer.”

She, once again, warned against corruption. “I beg of you, please don’t get involved in corruption. It will ruin your life. Don’t take money or bribes.”

The new recruits came after the police and Cape Town Central Improvement District security manager, Muneeb Hendricks, asked for more law enforcement manpower at the police’s first partnership meeting at the station on Thursday January 30.

Mr Hendricks said the city centre needed more resources because the area was not only the biggest contributor to crime, but it was the business hub of the city.

PR councillor Sumaya Taliep said crime in the city seemed to mostly be social ills, and that authorities need to tap into the new boots on the ground to help increase visibility.

The City of Cape Town announced that, as part of their Law Enforcement Advancement Plan, they were putting officers through training which would see the deployment of at least 500 new Law Enforcement officers in the next few months.

These officers will be deployed in areas where assistance is most needed in the city.

However, Cape Town Central, did not form part of the hotspot areas and were not included in the allocation of new law enforcement officers.

Nehna Singh, who was representing the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said that the deployment of the new officers were for the top problematic stations in Cape Town, which does not include Cape Town Central. She said the stations have been identified by crime patterns and statistics.

Mr Hendricks said that while the other areas are problematic, the same people commute to the city, and there are many people targeted here on a daily basis.

“We may not be a problematic station, but we need to protect the investment that is the CBD.

He also mentioned the situation at Greenmarket Square, where 400 refugees are living in and around the Methodist Church, and said the situation was becoming hostile.

Cape Town Central police spokesperson, Captain Ezra October, said while they had just received an intake of officers, law enforcement officials are important as they dealt with City by-laws. He said there was a great need for more law enforcement officials as they were a top-up for the police, and freed the police officers to deal with criminal matters.

“The community will always tell us we need visibility – Bobby on the Beat. This is what we have now. The new officers are trained and ready to work, but we always need more manpower.”