Community participation and support in the fight against crime can save lives.
Community Policing Forums (CPF) were set up to involve all local stakeholders and key organisations in local policing. They meet regularly with the officers in charge of the local police station and discuss problems and solutions to crime in their area. The adoption of community policing did not only turn around the crime situation, but changed the way the SAPS addresses crime.
For community policing to be successful, it is important for members of the community to realise and accept that they also have a social and moral obligation to assist and support the SAPS in the fight against crime and other forms of social disorder. With the support and involvement of the community, the police will be in a position to meet the safety and security needs of the country.
Community organisations and development workers have to cooperate with Community Policing Forums to mobilise community support in the fight against crime. This includes:
- Identifying crime hot spots and informing the police about problems
- Reporting any information on wanted suspects and illegal firearms
- Visiting schools with the SAPS to speak to learners and teachers
- Running education and awareness campaigns on the community’s role to fight crime
- Mobilising civil society organisations to become active members of the Community Policing Forum
- Supporting the police in crime prevention initiatives
- Monitoring police service delivery
- Providing possible solutions or alternatives to constantly strengthen partnerships and improve service delivery.