Newly elected chairman of the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF), Marc Truss, is eager to get to work in his new position.
Mr Truss, whose tenure runs until October 2019, was elected as chairman at an AGM last week. This comes after former chair, Nicola Jowell, stepped down from the position.
Mr Truss has been the chief executive of the GP/OK City Improvement District (CID) for a number of years.
Mr Truss, who lives in Oranjezicht, stressed the importance of building a positive relationship between the community and the police. “We can’t walk the path alone. We need to hold hands. I don’t profess to know everything and it is about the sharing of ideas and burdens of what we do. It’s a give and take, and the success would be in strengthening those ties.”
He said they had to be seen as one collective body when it came to fighting crime. “The strength is in the numbers, not in the individual,” he added.
He said he would be willing to work with other CPFs across the city.
“I’m hoping that will show other stations and CPFs that this is a tried and tested method. If it works, then let’s share it.”
Mr Truss said they expected a busy summer season, with lots of visitors expected in the Cape Town Central police precinct. He also said that more people were outside during this time, leading to more chances for opportunistic crime to take place.
“Those people will become very vulnerable (and) our ATM crime increases,” said Mr Truss.
“If we have identified the various elements of crime and have put together a cohesive plan, then I think we can put a stop to a lot of it. It’s not magic wand stuff. Crime will never disappear, but it will move. It depends on what measures you put into place to prevent crime taking place.”
He added that an important element of crime prevention was making members of the public more aware of their surroundings. The best way to do this, he said, is through education. “It’s about educating members of the public to prevent crime taking place.”
Mr Truss said it was important to go back to basics.
“We need to treat people with respect and with respect comes discipline. That’s what builds the people and then you can build on partnerships. We are there to instruct, we are there to help and make a difference.”
Mr Truss also encourages residents to get actively involved in their neighbourhood watch groups and CPFs.
He commended the work of Ms Jowell, who now takes up the position of secretary on the CPF executive.
“She’s done an exceptional job. She’s been there and fought for what she believes in. She’s never been one to sit back and she’s always led from the front.
“I think that is what has gained her the respect of the members and the community. She’s been a good example of how CPFs could and should be managed going forward.”
Captain Ezra October, spokesman for the Cape Town Central police station, said he was looking forward to working with Mr Truss and also encouraged the community to get involved with the various structures within the CPF. “The partnership is about taking ownership of the police station. It’s your station and it doesn’t belong to anyone. I think the partnerships need to be stepped up another level.”
He said partnerships were about eradicating concerns and coming up with solutions to make things work. “We cannot work without the community,” Captain October stressed. “I can proudly say that our community has been involved in this police station. In turn, we need to ensure that we give them a professional service.”