17 February 2017 Read: 644
“Responding to crime is not enough to curb the rise in house robberies, business break-ins and farm attacks in and around Tzaneen. A more proactive approach to the prevention of crime is the only way to force criminal elements out of our community,” said Letaba Alarms owner, Leon Coomans.
He was addressing the impact that his newly launched Peace Officer service will have on crime in Tzaneen. Coomans and his partner, Nathi Sedibe, said that a change in strategy has been a long time coming and four years ago they started looking at the practicality of sector policing.
Sector policing is a UK-based policing model that adopts a far more decentralised approach to policing. It is intended to address root causes of crime at specific geographical locations within a community, in partnership with particular communities at local level. It can therefore be seen as a ‘tailor made’ policing approach created to suit specific local needs.
“It really is quite brilliant,” Coomans explained, “you see, currently all security officers from anywhere around Tzaneen face the problem of response time and available manpower. By dividing Tzaneen into sectors and manning those specific areas with dedicated peace officers, we cut the response time in half, while simultaneously providing visible policing in your neighbourhood.”
The division of the town into smaller managerial sectors and the assignment of Peace Officers to these areas on a full time basis immediately increases efficacy and acts as a deterrent to would-be criminals Sector policing also encourages constant contact with members of the local communities on a very personal level.
“The officers stationed down your street, for example, will become familiar with the movements in your neighbourhood, they will know your family and your children, your neighbours and will pick up instantly if something doesn’t seem right. They won’t have to wait for you to push a panic button before they investigate.”
The new Peace Officers also have the powers take witness statements, conduct random stop and searches, make arrests and confiscate contraband which will greatly assist the SAPS in making Tzaneen a safe community for all its residents.
Look out for the newly branded Letaba Alarms vehicles and get to know your Peace Officers in your area. A K-9 unit is added to the mix with three tracker dogs and a narcotics hound, said to join the team soon.
A complete roll out of the areas will be announced as soon as all the necessary documentations and strategies have been finalised. This initiative is backed by the Tzaneen SAPS and the Greater Tzaneen Municipality.