More blues for Parow SAPS

Sello Lehong shows the crack along his outside wall.

The already short-staffed Parow SAPS will have to stretch themselves even further to include the fast-growing suburb of Burgundy Estate in their precinct.

This is despite the fact that Parow police station is 10km away from the suburb, while Bothasig police station is 2.5km away.

The move follows the end of a so-called gentleman’s agreement Parow SAPS had had with their Bothasig colleagues.

Although police authorities had allocated the sprawling estate to the Parow precinct when the development started years ago, an informal agreement had existed between it and Bothasig SAPS that the latter would take care of the gated community.

This arrangement has now been broken off, and Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Roger Cannon is worried about the impact on policing in Parow.

He said it “makes no sense” for Parow to be allocated Burgundy Estate, when the area has Bothasig SAPS on its doorstep.

“We understand the history, but logistically it doesn’t make sense. My major concern is we have so few people at Parow. Now they have to police Burgundy Estate which could have been covered by a service centre which is closer to the area,” he said.

Parow SAPS said they did not know the history behind the arrangement with Bothasig and how long it had been in place, but they also raised the issue of scarce resources.

“Our resources are already challenged, and this addition will stretch our resources,” said Parow SAPS spokesman Captain Kevin Williams.

Mr Cannon said Burgundy Estate had been built on land that had once been part of De Grendel Estate. Although Parow SAPS had been responsible for the farm, it hadn’t been as challenging as policing a rapidly growing suburb, which the area had now become.

As it stands, Parow SAPS is under strain because of staff shortages (“Parow safety ‘compromised’”, Northern News, February 22).

“It’s taking a van out of the area, away from patrolling,” Mr Cannon said.

The CPF, he said, would again ask SAPS management to review who was responsible for Burgundy Estate.

The forum was still waiting for a response to a letter it had sent to the Tygerberg cluster last month raising concerns about Parow SAPS’s lack of manpower.

“We need them to make a decision, they need to reconsider,” he said.

Bothasig SAPS also said the “gentleman’s agreement” had been in place before the appointment of current station commander Patrick Jacobs.

Bothasig SAPS spokesman Warrant Officer Jacques Mostert said they had asked Parow to take over Burgundy Estate because as they were not formally responsible for the area, it was difficult to plot crime threats and patterns on the Geographical Information System (GIS), a database logging daily crime reports.

However, Warrant Officer Mostert said Bothasig would continue, where possible, to help Parow with serious crimes and cross boundary operations in the area.

“Burgundy Estate is still invited to meetings with our local security companies as crime (there) could still have an impact on Bothasig’s crime, hence it is important to manage it together,” said Warrant Officer Mostert.

There is also talk of a promised upgrade for Parow SAPS, but Mr Cannon doesn’t think it will happen any time soon. However, Captain Williams said: “The upgrade plans are already tabled to our provincial commissioner’s office via the Tygerberg cluster office.”

Northern News sent questions to the provincial SAPS media office about the planned upgrade, but they did not respond by the time this edition went to print.