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Neighbourhood Safety Initiative

The Global Risk Governance Programme is supporting the City of Cape Town’s Neighbourhood Policing Initiative through providing expert guidance and support. John Cartwright is the project co-ordinator and  Clifford Shearing, is the Chief Investigator. This is a 3 year contract that runs from 2016-2019.

The City of Cape Town’s Metro Police Department launched its Neighbourhood Safety Officer programme (with the support of the Centre of Criminology at UCT) in 2008. The initiative is based on international best thinking in neighbourhood policing/problem-orientated policing and was taken up in the City's Integrated Development Plan as a priority programme.  It entails the deployment of dedicated and specially trained Metro Police members in specific “neighbourhoods”.

Another programme based on similar principles is the School Resource Officer programme, which is run by Law Enforcement and is at present operating in 18 schools.

At the law-enforcement end of the spectrum within the City's policing service are the Gang and Drugs Task Team, the Ceasefire programme and the Stabilisation Unit (a contingent of auxiliary officers recruited from local communities).

Even with these programmes in place, the City's policing is facing two problems:

  • the services are small, and a policy of 'coverage' through patrolling and visibility is simply not working;
  • all the above units and programmes are working reasonably well in themselves, but there is minimal synergy or integration in practice.

The challenge therefore is to find the most effective possible way of using the limited  resources available. Using a neighbourhood-based 'whole-of-society' approach, John Cartwright and Clifford Shearing, in cooperation with City representatives, are planning the formation of 'Neighbourhood Safety Teams', starting in three neighbourhoods of Delft: Voorbrug, Rozendal and Delft South.

The aim is to build a culture and a set of templates and practices as a model for locally based integrated policing, especially in resource-poor communities.