The Eastern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, together with the SAPS, are failing to take steps to ensure that we recruit police reservists. The decline in the number of police reservists between 2015/16 and 2018/19 of 34% is simply not good enough. This is a decline of 685 reservists down from 2017 in 2015/16 to 1332 in 2018/19.
The cry from our communities is for safety and ridding our communities of the criminal element.
The DA believes that fighting crime is a partnership with the community and the police, as the SAPS alone cannot win the war against crime. We need more boots on the ground and greater community participation as part of the solution.
It is a well-known fact that high visibility policing cuts the crime rate by about 40%. This proves the necessity of having trained police reservists as they form an integral part of the province’s policing strength but they are not given a fair opportunity to undergo training.
It makes no sense for the SAPS to allow the number of reservists to decline, as they are a force multiplier. Station Commanders must go out of their way to ensure that conditions are conducive to attract police reservists. This means that there needs to be vehicles available for them as well as the necessary equipment, and opportunities to undergo fire arm competency tests.
According to the SA Victims of Crime Survey 2016/17 of Stats SA, it recorded that the Eastern Cape had 39.2% of households that they never saw police on duty, in their area of residence. This percentage was the highest figure in the country. This highlights the need for visible policing, and police reservists can assist in this regard.
The DA calls on the Department and SAPS, to engage in a vigorous campaign of recruitment of police reservists. We want to see the streets of our province safe for children to play in, women to walk in and businesses to operate in. An enhanced climate of safety and security is a prerequisite for investment, and the creation of jobs.
With the right strategies in place, we can win this war.
Bobby Stevenson, MPL
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