Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Firoz Cachalia today tabled his departmental budget of R335.416 million for the 2007/8 financial year.

The bulk of the budget will go towards traffic management, for which R218.4 million is allocated. Traffic management and administration receives R40.697 million, while R49.326 million is earmarked for safety promotion.

Cachalia said the department had embarked on an unprecedented campaign of supporting broad-based community mobilisation in an effort to improve the safety of the province’s communities.

Community Policing Forums (CPFs), Community Safety Patrollers and Victim Support Workers are among the categories of volunteers who will not only be recruited, but will also receive millions of rands worth training.

“The training will focus on enhancing both general and specific skills of volunteers and will be conducted through universities, schools and other accredited institutions so that recipients can be recognised as having achieved a skills level recognised by the National Qualifications Framework,” said Cachalia.

For CPFs, the department will spend more than R1.3 million this year, providing accredited training to 400 CPF members from 100 policing precincts throughout the province.

“We will also be exploring ways of encouraging broader partnerships to support the CPFs with their initiatives,” said Cachalia.

Patroller groups are being established in 26 areas, namely Sebokeng, Naledi, Orlando, Moroka, Diepsloot, Marabastad, Vosloorus, Daveyton, Katlehong, Tokoza, Rabie Ridge, Putfontein, Bophelong, Wattville, Soshanguve, Roodepoort, Evaton, Munsieville, Kagiso, Olievenhoutbosch, Mamelodi East, Mamelodi West, Orange Farm, Ivory Park, Tembisa and Hillbrow.

“The patroller groups will not be auxiliary police officers. They will be deployed to certain public areas such as taxi ranks, shopping districts, parks and around schools where they will be the eyes and ears of the community. They will be clearly identifiable and will immediately call the police if they see criminal activity,” said Cachalia.

The MEC also announced the establishment of a Gauteng Crime and Policing Information System, an electronic analysis and data capturing system which will allow the department to consistently track crime trends and police performance information on a daily basis.

Cachalia said a call centre has also been established to receive complaints of poor service delivery on the part of police officials. The call centre became operational on 1 April and in the first six weeks of its operation it received 41 complaints. The call centre can be accessed by calling 0860 GAUTENG (428 8364).

The MEC also tabled achievements of the police in Gauteng for January to April 2007.

A total of 159 676 arrests, according to the MEC, were made by the South African Police Service (SAPS) during this period, and of this number 57 759 arrests were made for all types of serious crimes ranging from murder to shoplifting.

According to the SAPS Provincial Business Intelligence System, during this time the police made 848 arrests for murder, 734 for attempted rape, 1700 for rape, 1886 for common robbery, 2048 for aggravated robbery, 6625 for common assault and 11 318 for assault with the intention to commit grievous bodily harm.

In the last financial year the SAPS arrested 947 suspects for residential robberies, 466 for business robberies and 523 for vehicle hijacking in Gauteng.