DA committed to fighting crime: Free State Community Policing Bill submitted in the Free State Legislature
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is committed to making positive contributions to the fight against crime in the Free State Province. The impact of crime in rural and urban areas is catastrophic. Besides the trauma it causes to communities, it contributes to poor social cohesion and increased unemployment and poverty in the province.
The DA is committed to fighting both rural and urban crime in the province.
While the SAPS remain the responsibility of national government, there is much that a province can do by improving the oversight role of the province over policing.
Among other DA proposals that contribute to the fight against this scourge, I have submitted a Private Member’s Bill, Free State Community Policing Bill (2019), to the Speaker for tabling in the new term of the Free State Legislature. This bill has the following objectives:
To develop and introduce provincial oversight models in respect of the police in compliance with the constitutional mandate of provinces to monitor police conduct and to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the SAPS in the Province. An effective and efficient police service will achieve increased levels of safety and an open society that is free from fear of crime. The functions of oversight are, in terms of the Bill, focussed on detecting patterns and practices of police conduct, identifying systemic failures in the police system and making recommendations on how best to improve policing in the province;
The oversight functions in respect of the monitoring of police conduct and assessment of the police service are also addressed in this Bill. The manner in which the Province addresses complaints received from communities about police inefficiency will be significantly enhanced through the introduction of the Provincial Police Ombudsman, who is duly empowered by the Bill to effectively address such complaints. The Ombudsman will also be tasked to investigate any breakdown in the relations between the police and the community;
The introduction of an integrated information system will enable the province to collect information to be considered by the provincial executive in determining the policing needs and priorities that exist within the province. The intention is to move away from the current practice of determining policing needs primarily on the basis of crime statistics and to approach a more holistic understanding of policing needs based on information obtained in partnership with among others communities, civil society, other spheres of government and businesses.
The Bill supports the development and establishment of partnerships with the business community and other role-players, and the accreditation andsupport of neighbourhood watches aimed at increasing capacity for innovation, cooperation and the development of safety initiatives to promote good relations between the police and communities.
The Bill will address other aspects such as the reporting to the Provincial Member of Executive Council by the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS.
A similar Bill has been implemented successfully in the Western Cape Province, and the DA is hopeful that this bill will be viewed positively and receive the necessary support from all parties in the Legislature.
Statement issued by Dr Roy Jankielsohn, DA MPL and Leader of the Opposition in the Free State Legislature, 5 June 2019