Brackenfell police station has two newly appointed top cops who say they have their work cut out for them.
Colonel Jakobus Marthinus, the new station commander, and Colonel Beverly Smith, the new head detective of the Brackenfell branch, both took up their positions on Friday November 1.
Despite the shortage of “manpower” Colonel Marthinus, 54, believes he has the ability to reduce crime, protect the community and “soon have Brackenfell police station known to be the best station in the country”.
But he says he can only have successful results if residents are his “eyes and ears and report crimes.”
Colonel Marthinus, whose father was a police sergeant, was 21 when he started his career at Robertson police station. He has also worked at Kleinmond, Bonnievale and Ladismith police stations.
“Being at Brackenfell police station will not be challenging for me because I come from areas where there are mainly contact crimes, including murders, rape and assaults. Here I am dealing with property crimes and business robberies. I am trained to deal with all types of crimes.”
He says he is building relationships with neighbouring police stations as he has found that many of the criminals targeting Brackenfell come from surrounding communities.
“This will help me determine whether the suspect already has a criminal profile and lead to quick arrests.”
What he dislikes about his job, he says, is that “the public paints all police with the same brush.”
“Police are known to be given a bad name, but my team and I will do our best to solve and rid crime in our communities, but we need the help of our people too.”
Detective head Colonel Smith, 47, says tackling a backlog of fraud cases is top of her to-do list.
Her SAPS career started in 1991 and she was part of the Bellville visible policing unit for 20 years. She worked as a sergeant in Philadelphia for five years and was appointed a captain at the Table Bay Harbour police station in 2015.
Colonel Smith says catching a criminal is easier today than it was when she first started her career.
“Back then, the process of tracking down fingerprints took nearly two weeks as they had to be sent to a lab and then linked to the suspect.”
Now a fingerprint scanner immediately links a suspect with their criminal record.
She says she encourages her colleagues to “investigate a case as if it had happened to yourself so that justice can be served”.