Sept 2006



 A news story on television showed an angry group of people toy-toying in the street. They wanted the release of community members who were arrested for attacking a man who raped and brutally killed a young girl. The angry residents said they took the law into their own hands because the police took too long to arrest the man. Similar incidents have also occurred in other communities.

A new programme will soon be started to reorganise police stations. The police top management has examined the problems around the way they work and has suggested some important changes. By improving the way things are run, the programme will make police stations stronger and help the police to react quicker to crime. For example, police stations do not have specialised units that deal with specific crimes. Specialised units deal with crimes like rape, hi-jacking, child and women abuse, domestic violence, car theft and robbery. They include the:

  • Serious and Violent Crimes Unit;
  • Area Crime Combating Unit;
  • National Intervention Unit;
  • Vehicle Identification and Safeguarding Unit; and the
  • Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit.

Police stations do not at the moment have trained police who can deal with such cases immediately and the specialised units are situated far away from most police stations. This means that if you contact the police to report a case of car theft or rape, the police will have to call the particular unit that works with such crimes. This causes delays. By the time the police arrive at the scene of the crime, some important evidence or even the suspects may have disappeared.

The police operate on four different levels. These are the national, provincial, local and area levels. As part of the programme of change, the area level will fall away, leaving only three levels. A provincial commissioner will also have two deputies instead of four. This is to avoid having many people doing a job that could be done by one or two people. Experienced high-ranking police officers, like commissioners and directors, will be sent to local police stations to train and advise new staff. The changes will make police stations stronger. Service will improve, police will be able to react quicker to calls from the public and people will be safer. The programme is expected to start before December 2006.

- Ndivhuwo Khangale


Safety and Security
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