PUBLIC SAFETY

DRIVING COMMUNITY SAFETY THROUGH PARTNERSHIP

The municipality is home to approximately 120, 000 residents and over the last decade has had one of the fastest-growing populations in the West Coast District. It is estimated that the population will gradually increase and is expected to reach 133, 263 by 2030, which equates to a considerable eleven percent growth.

Globally competitive municipalities provide liveable, safe spaces to its residents and these factors remain a priority in the overall service offering of Saldanha Bay Municipality. The municipal Safety Plan sets out its contribution and commitment to making this area a safe and resilient place to live, visit, work and study. The municipality’s Public Safety division comprises of four different sections namely: Traffic Operations, Traffic Management, Law Enforcement and Security and Fire Services and Disaster Management. These teams’ areas of focus include the following:

Integrated Operational Safety and Security
Working with partners such as the South African Police Services (SAPS), internal departments, the Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fishing, private security companies, neighbourhood watches and community police forums to contribute to improved safety and security services and rendering support to ensure effective service delivery by all role-players.

These partnerships are robust and dynamic in nature and happens between all spheres of government, the private sector, civil society organisations and communities. The relationships and cooperation between parties remain essential for the effective delivery of services.

Community Involvement in Safety
Contribute to the equitable and effective protection of citizens through the development of community safety structures such as ward committees for safety, community police forums and neighbourhood watch structures to improve and expand community education in this regard.

Research and Crime Analysis
Working together with industry specialists to provide qualitative and quantitative crime information and analysis.

Urban Safety and Management of Built Environment
Promote crime prevention through environment design practices to improve understanding and implementation of a relevant regulatory framework and compliance to safety measures.
Social Crime Prevention Working with partners to improve awareness of safety risks and the pro-active mitigation of crime impact in communities and amongst vulnerable groups.

Integrated Operational Safety and Security
The municipality meets weekly with other safety stakeholders at its Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to plan combined operations in order to improve a coordinated implementation of operations. Feedback is provided to the executive task team on a monthly basis and a Community Safety Forum meets once a quarter to provide strategic direction to the coordinated operations. Joint, integrated operations conducted in partnership with the local South African Police Services (SAPS) typically focus on: house shops, alcohol and drugs, public nuisances and stolen property. House shop operations are conducted with external partners within the municipal area.

The District Safety Plan (DSP), implemented in coordination with law enforcement agencies in order to enforce road safety, has contributed significantly to the reduction of fatalities in the Saldanha Bay area and throughout the West Coast district.

Saldanha Bay Municipality has a memorandum of understanding with the South African Air Force, South African Navy and National Ports Authority to combat major fires in our area.

Community Involvement in Safety
Continuous engagement takes place with community-based structures to involve communities in our programmes.

 

Road Safety Campaigns
The municipality conducts road safety awareness programmes and campaigns on an ongoing basis. We also donated a mini traffic circle to two local primary schools with the aim of assisting in road safety education.

In addition, the Fire and Rescue Services and Law Enforcement departments also regularly present education and awareness programmes about fire safety and by-laws to our communities, including local primary and high schools.

Research and Crime Analysis
An integrated reporting tool was developed collectively by the local South African Police Services (SAPS), the municipality’s Public Safety Department and Provincial Traffic Services to align reporting requirements.

The municipality works closely with local businesses, residents, visitors and other role-players to determine which crime problems affect its area. To inform our work and respond to the changing environment of crime, we;

  • identify crime hotspots in the local area and continuously monitor crime trends and
  • regularly consult with stakeholders such as SAPS, community members, businesses and other levels of government to align our statistics.

Urban Safety and Management of Built Environment
A resilient municipality is one that is prepared for times of emergency. It has published plans and established networks ready to respond to an emergency and to deal effectively and efficiently with disasters. The Disaster Management Plan of the municipality has recently been reviewed as required by the Disaster Management Act, Act 57 of 2002. The plan outlines the contingency strategies and emergency procedures in the event of a disaster and includes the functions of a Joint Operations Centre (JOC).

A Resilient Municipality
The municipality is in the process of updating its Disaster Risk Assessment (DRA) that was previously conducted in 2016. The DRA will enable the municipality to develop up-to-date measures for disaster risk reduction and will inform the review of its Disaster Management Plan.

Fire and Rescue Service
The purpose of Fire and Rescue Services is to enhance community safety, improve quality of life and instil confidence by minimising the impact of hazards and emergency situations. The municipality has an independent, experienced and well-resourced Fire and Rescue Services to protect its residents and visitors.

One important function of this department is fire prevention and the municipality has a dedicated unit that conducts fire inspections. The current approach to available, accessible fire services specifically ackowledges the role of those communities who are most at risk of fire destruction and other disasters. The municipality developed programmes aimed to educate residents about required behaviour and actions that can contribute to the reduction of fires and disasters. These programmes are hands-on and make use of various methods to reach out to residents.

Door-to-door visits or campaigning supported by material such as pamphlets and posters are popular to communicate the message. In partnership with the Provincial Government, a project was launched to install smoke alarms in informal settlements.

In order to strengthen and further capacitate the staff complement of the Fire and Rescue Services, a fire brigade reserve force was established. These dedicated men and women assist the career firefighters with their huge task of keeping Saldanha Bay out of harm’s way.

Social Crime Prevention
Social crime prevention entails a range of strategies implemented by individuals, communities, businesses, non-government organisations and all levels of government to target the various social and environmental factors that increase the risk of crime, disorder and victimisation.

The municipality, in partnership with other sector departments, participate in programmes to reduce domestic and family violence and sexual assault.

SBM also participated in a school holiday programme for children from the disadvantaged communities, focusing on safety and social wellbeing.

Alcohol and Drugs
In order to reduce the harm caused by drugs and alcohol in our communities, the Law Enforcement Department teamed up with other role-players to conduct inspections at liquor outlets. They specifically targeted outlets that sell liquor for consumption off premises and outside the permitted trading hours, as well as those involved in the illegal sale of alcohol and drugs.

In conclusion
Safer communities are central to Saldanha Bay Municipality’s mandate of creating an environment that is conducive to local economic development. The municipality is committed to implement evidence-based policies and programmes that will contribute to the improvement of the safety and security of our communities. To this effect, fundamental documentation such as the municipality’s Law Enforcement and Safety Policy, Road Traffic Strategy, a Fire Services Master Plan and Disaster Management Plan have been approved by Council. How people perceive safety is an important measure of the broader health and wellbeing of society. When people feel unsafe, they are less likely to be connected to their communities and lack a sense of cohesion and involvement.

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