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‘Is NST fit enough?’

Henriette Abrahams, a resident from Bonteheuwel who is also part of the Street Committee Patrol, said while the deployment of the Neighbourhood Safety Team (NST) is needed in the area, the question remains whether the officers are trained to deal with gangsters.

The group, comprising 100 law enforcement officers, will work in shifts in Bonteheuwel and surrounds to help combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

The officers will maintain a visible presence, deal with by-law transgressions and assist with crime prevention duties in conjunction with the Metro Police and Traffic Service, as well as the South African Police Service.

“As a community, we are happy to know that more hands are on deck in our area, but we are interested in knowing how long they will be in our area? Is this just a one month deployment or will they be here for the next 365 days,” Abrahams told TygerBurger.

In her opinion, the deployment of the Metro Police would have been more effective.

“The only important thing though is that the law enforcement officers work together with us as the Street Patrol Committee of Bonteheuwel and also the police.”

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security, said the need for intervention in Bonteheuwel and surrounds is clear judging by the increase in gang-related violence and the resultant fatalities.

“This, coupled with the fact that there is no police station in Bonteheuwel were the factors that impacted our decision to roll out the second NST team in this area.

The NST model focuses on enforcement, including stop-and-search operations, vehicle checkpoints and visible patrols.

“However, there is also a social element that will include everything from logging service requests for City-related infrastructure like broken streetlights and missing drain covers, to enforcing bylaws and even addressing truancy.”

Smith said the teams will work with residents, community organisations, schools and other interested and affected parties to achieve a common goal of making Bonteheuwel safer. “It is important that justice must be seen to be done, not just for residents who live in violence-plagued communities, but also the officers who put their lives on the line to patrol the streets daily and arrest suspects who break the law. We appeal to national government to deploy adequate levels of police to protect communities and to shore up the criminal justice system so that gang-related cases can be properly investigated and convictions secured,” he added.

The City first launched the NST concept in Delft in December 2017, in an attempt to help reduce incidents of crime in suburbs identified in the police annual crime statistics.

The City’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said the NST team will be working on a two-shift system – an early and late shift – and will be deployed every weekend.

“The officers’ training is on-going and staff have been trained in stop-and-approach as well as tactical street survival techniques.

“They have also been trained in basic firearm training and will be scheduled to undergo additional training,” said Bosman in response to whether the team are trained to deal with gangsters.

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