New force on ’Plain streets

A man lies on the floor as police arrive at a mechanics house in Eastridge.

Mitchell’s Plain police are shaking things up with a new proactive team focused on confiscating firearms and drugs in crime hot spots like Tafelsig and Eastridge.

Members were hand-picked by Mitchell’s Plain police station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam to bring down crime in the identified hot spots.

On Friday January 24, the Plainsman joined the team as they drove around in Beacon Valley, which was buzzing with residents standing outside and eyeing the police suspiciously, when they saw the SAPS vehicle.

In Korfbal Street, they stopped and searched the young men coming out of a house and searched the yard as well.

In one of the rooms a woman sat with a baby on her lap watching a children’s programme.

On enquiry, it was revealed that the baby’s mom, a mother for four children had been arrested hours before, on Thursday January 23.

At the end of last year the station received 10 new vehicles, including twin cab vehicles, which the team drives in various areas between 4am and 4pm.

“But this could change at any moment depending on where and when the need is to intercept and prevent crime,” said Brigadier Goolam.

He said the team had made in-roads to changing crime patterns because they were visible and mobile.

“The public is also more amenable to sharing information and are witnessing the combating of crime,” he said.

The selected members had shown exemplary discipline and willingness to go the extra mile for the community and were skilled in hand-to hand combat, close quarter contact and use of weapons like firearms, tactical vehicle and individual manoeuvres, he said.

Brigadier Goolam said the focus was on “face on policing” – where the police were in your face there before the crime could be executed.

“It is working. The team sees some suspicious behaviour and intercepts before the crime can happen,” he said.

The team increases its activity and visibility when residents leave their homes for work in the morning, sometimes walking alongside them to the bus stop.

“We have spotted some trends, like the thief is dressed with a bag on their back, blending in with the workers. They greet and walk alongside the commuter (before) robbing them,” he said.

He said women sometimes carried the guns, because the criminal thinks policemen would not search the opposite sex.

To combat this they will take steps to have more women on the team.

Brigadier Goolam has called on scholars to refrain from being on the streets with cellphones as they could get robbed.

“Parents should not allow their children to carry cellphones to school,” he said.

The team arrested a man, 24, in Charley Close, the industrial area Beacon Valley on Sunday January 26 at 9.10am.

They had received a tip off that a man had a firearm in his possession and when they searched him they

found an imitation firearm, which they confiscated.

He faces charges of being in possession of an imitation firearm and resisting arrest.

The man was due to appear in Mitchell’s Plain magistrate’s court yesterday Tuesday January 28.

Another man, 19, was arrested at about 5am on Saturday January 25, when the team responded to information about a shooting in Buffalo Street, Eastridge.

Station spokesman Captain Ian Williams said upon arrival, they noticed a man, who was acting suspiciously. They approached the man and when they searched him, they found a Norinco Star firearm, with its serial number removed with magazine and nine 9mm live rounds in his possession.

The teenager faces a charge of being in possession of a firearm and ammunition without a license.

He was due in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s court on Monday January 27.

Norman Adonis, chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain community police forum (CPF) Hyde Park sub-forum, told the Plainsman that the programme was good as it lets the community know that there is a designated team dealing with certain crimes.

“They can deal with crime, which the sector vehicles cannot get to,” he said.

He said the sector vehicles deal with complaints, domestic violence, loitering and shops being open after hours.

“The proactive team can hone in on taking drugs and guns off from the streets,” he said.

Mitchell’s Plain community police forum (CPF) Hyde Park sub-forum will be having a public meeting at Tafelsig Community Centre, in Olifantshoek Road, on Wednesday February 12 at 7pm. For more information call Mr Adonis on 061 408 7729.