In a bid to pledge their support for law enforcement officials amidst an increase in police fatalities in the line of duty, The Western Province Community Police Board (WPCPB) held a march this past weekend to highlight the perils faced by officers on an almost daily basis. The march took place between the Langa and Manenberg Police Stations, and also sought to quell negative perceptions held by the community towards police officials.
With more than 400 policemen thought to have lost their lives nationwide under the South African Police Services (SAPS) structures, Bishop Lavis cluster chairperson; Faizal Abrahams said it was important to lament the ongoing violence directed at officials, particularly in the Western Cape.
“These people are only human beings who are doing a duty and a service within the community. They’ve got to make a contribution in terms of their job description to keep this province safe, and to protect us. Unfortunately some have lost their lives,” he explained.
The risks in many cases are not limited to policemen themselves, but also towards the families of these officers. Hence, the WPCPB were calling on the community to assist in eliminating ‘evil elements’ such as gangsterism from their homes.
“The message is very clear, hands off our police, hands off our law enforcement, and hands off our communities,” he stated.
Much of the intolerance shown towards law enforcement personnel is purported to be a result of challenges faced within these structures, which includes many officials failing to perform their duties. This has reportedly created a sense of distrust amongst the community, further fueling negative perceptions of the police.
“We as a provincial board are that bridge. Our community policing forum (CPF) structures are that bridge to build the relationship, and close that gap so that we can have a relationship of complete trust,” he suggested, adding that this could not be achieved without efforts from both sides.
There have also been accusations of certain “corrupt” SAPS members personally arming gangsters within the community, and whilst acknowledging that such instances were rife, Abrahams said there was a strong effort to bring an end to this.
However, he stressed that the community need come forward with information, so as to help eradicate such criminal elements from the SAPS structures.
“We can only continue that process and eliminate the bad apples within SAPS if we come forward with constructive information,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)