The new acting Strandfontein police station commander has hit the ground running, meeting residents, businesses, the religious fraternity and schools, and stressing that the officers in blue cannot fight crime alone.
On Friday night, October 27, Captain Raymond Solomon was flanked by Strandfontein police officers, Community Police Forum (CPF), Dolphin Block Watch, Band Square Block Watch, and neighbourhood watch members as members of Strandfontein Community in Blue and law enforcement walked from the station across the sand dunes to Masincedane informal settlement, stopping at various sites along Camp Road and then crossed Spine Road to also stop and search at the formal houses.
When gathering, Captain Solomon said his main objective would be to mobilise the community.
“We as SAPS can never do it alone.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are a bigger station, like Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha or Nyanga, we still need our safety structures.
“You are our extended hands and I know that all of you are doing this voluntarily,” he said.
Captain Solomon thanked them for their commitment and said they would be having focused operations, during which they would flood a particular area with police and community visibility.
He said everyone was needed, “even if you are looking through your window, peeping through the curtain at 5am”.
“Speak to your people. We need more people,” he said.
Captain Solomon also explained that new regulations pertaining to the Firearms Act stipulated that neighbourhood watch members and security officers could not use their privately licensed guns while on duty.
“When you applied you requested to use it for your personal and family safety. Now when you bring it with you on duty you are changing the mandate.
“Let’s paint the community blue,” he said.
Community activist Gaironesa Diederick, also a member of Dolphin Block Watch, asked whether Captain Solomon would be behind his desk or in the community where she could see him.
He said that he would not butter her up and that she should call him out of his office.
Regarding service delivery, he encouraged the community to lay formal complaints about police officers.
He also said that independent police officers, from other stations, would investigate the complaint.
Ms Diederick also asked about the phone not being answered and which number should be used to report crime.
Captain Solomon said Crime Stop on 08600 10 111 should be called and that a reference number would be given.
“We use that reference number, when we do investigations. It tells us a story. When you made the call. When the vehicle was dispatched. Who attended to the call and what was the result thereof,” he said.
Captain Solomon has been a member of SAPS for 25 years.
He first served as a member of the South African Air Force protection services and joined SAPS at Manenberg police station in 1999.
Six years later he moved to Keimoes police station, in the Northern Cape, then to Bellville in 2009.
Captain Solomon was Tafelsig sector commander at Mitchell’s Plain police station from 2011 until 2019 and then Town Centre commander until he was deployed to Strandfontein police station.
He took up office on Tuesday October 17.
Strandfontein CPF chairwoman Sandy Schuter-Flowers said they have complete confidence in Captain Solomon and had covered much ground in the last two weeks.
She said they were looking to meet with the sports fraternity soon.
Ms Schuter-Flowers also called on residents to take precautions and secure their properties and belongings.
“You do what you can and together we can have a safe community,” she said.
She also said that during load shedding the phone lines do not work and that it is best for the community to call Crime Stop.