Community policing is a style of policing within a democracy – it is NOT a public relations exercise or a quick fix to problems that exist. It is a way of living that will prevent crime and create a safe and more secure environment where we can all live our lives in peace. It is a style of policing that involves all members of the community and the other outside agencies that can be of assistance to the police and community.
The community has the right to know what the police are doing, why it is being done and what has resulted from their actions. Likewise, the community should also be willing to share information with the police and assist them in their work.
For this partnership to be successful the police should be seen as part of the community and this partnership must be strong with both parties pulling in the same direction. This needs the two parties to get together, talk to each other, share information and develop a close bond and trust. There will always be differences of opinion but all effort should be made to resolve or minimize these so that they do not become barriers.
Community Policing Forums (CPF) can bring communities, neighbourhood watches, the police and other community safety partners together so that dialogue and information sharing can take place to the benefit of all concerned. They are there to assist the police to do their work better – not to take over police duties or to try and control the police.
In terms of the Western Cape Provincial Constitution and Code of Conduct for Neighbourhood Watch Structures all neighbourhood watch structures must be affiliated to the local CPF in order to be recognised by the local South African Police Services in the area.
Role and Functions
The primary objective is to promote a partnership between the community and the local police and to create an environment that will promote effective local policing that is user-friendly.
Community Policing Forums are constituted to:
- represent the community’s interests
- and monitors the South African Police Service SAPS’) service delivery;
- perform a vital role in the civilian oversight of the SAPS in the precinct. A police service can only be effective when it enjoys the confidence and co-operation of the community which it serves.
- improve communication between the SAPS and the community;
- make the needs of the community known to the police and to help the police meet those needs;
- promote the image of the SAPS to the community in order to foster closer ties between the SAPS and the community;
- promote transparency an
- foster joint problem-solving and co-operation, to name a few.
he Community Policing Forum (CPF) is a body mandated in terms of sections 205 and 206 of the Constitution of South Africa Act No. 108 of 1996, Chapter 7 of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995 and Chapters 7, 8, to 8.4 and 13 to 19 of the Uniform CPF Constitution for the Western Cape Province 2010 and may include objectives, as contained in Section 222(2) of the South African Constitution.
The SAPS Station Commander must take reasonable steps to establish a CPF for his/her precinct.
All neighbourhood watch structures must be affiliated to the local CPF in order to be recognised by the local South African Police Services in the area.
The CPF may establish sub-forums and/or co-opt other persons in an advisory capacity.
The Forum or Sub-Forum may establish, direct the establishment, register and have oversight over the Community Safety- and Victim Support Structures.
Composition of the CPF
Representation is made up from both the community, who volunteer their services free of charge, and SAPS. All groupings of the community should be represented e.g. sports clubs, taxi associations, religious groups, government departments, women’s groups, civic organizations as well as individuals who do not belong to any specific group. The CPF can therefore be a big body.
The CPF has two components, namely the Executive Committee (EXCO) and the General Stakeholders (GSH). In large police precincts it will be necessary to have several Sector Crime Forums (SCFs), which make it easier for people or groups to get representation on the CPF.
The CPF may establish sub-forums and/or co-opt other persons in an advisory and non-voting capacity.
The CPF and Sub-Forum (if such exists) each comprise of a Chairperson, Deputy-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Project Co-ordinator, Public Relations Officer and any additional members as decided by the Forum at an Annual General Meeting. Positions on the CPF and SCF(s) should be in accordance with the local needs. These positions are filled by persons who belong to those NHWs, businesses, NPOs, NGOs etc who are affiliated members of the FH CPF.
The Fish Hoek CPF usually meets with its stakeholders and as an EXCO every first Monday of each month. Our current stakeholders are detailed on the Our Partners page.