Edcon, a leading clothing, footwear and textiles retailing group in Southern Africa, together with Independent Newspapers presented the town of Bloemfontein, Free State with a state-of-the-art mobile policing unit on Thursday, 10 May, as part of a wider ‘Partnership Against Crime’ initiative designed to assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in serving the community.
The customised unit, equipped to police specifications and that cost about R80,000 each, was handed over to the Mangaung Police Station officials on Thursday 10 May.
The hand-over of this unit, brought to 18 the number of “hot dog stand” crime prevention trailers that the Edcon group, as patron of the Programme, has subsidised at an investment of over R1 million since 2006.
According to Samantha Hartshorne, coordinator, The Star: Lead SA and SAPS Trailers, “The units will be utilised to increase the presence and capabilities of the police in Bloemfontein. While the purpose is to involve the community in the role of policing, this enhanced contact with the community will continue to provide reassurance and assist in the reduction of the fear of crime."
A significant investment from local businesses
Since its launch five years ago by The Star Newspaper and Community Policing Forums (CPF), the Partnership Against Crime has attracted significant investment from local businesses in an effort to provide direct assistance to the SAPS in their fight against crime.
Says Edcon's Group transformation manager, Laverne Leibrandt “We are proud to be associated with such a vital and important initiative. As a company committed to empowering communities the trailers will serve the communities within the Edcon trading areas and improve the safety of residents. We feel privileged to be able to put our weight behind a project that is having such a positive impact in communities where more and more residents are determined to take back their power. “
A contact centre, made by Venter
Built by Venter, the trailers provide highly visible contact points for civilians and SAPS due to their mobile nature. They have the ability to be moved to ‘hot spots’ within any policing area and also provide excellent means of communication between shops, offices, security companies and the police.
While the majority of mobile policing units have been previously deployed in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Polokwane and Cape Town, Friday’s hand-over in Bloemfontein is the first one for the Free State region.
The Partnership Against Crime Programme is currently in negotiations with SAPS to provide the project further momentum through the rollout of more trailers throughout South Africa.
Images: (Top image): From left to right; Free State Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant Khehla Sitole, Ms Innocentia Buthelezi (Edcon), Mr Sebela (Provincial Chairperson of the Community Policing Forum), Colonel Fothwane (Kagisanong Station Commander), Colonel Ramokotjo (Bloemspruit Station Commander) and Brigadier Billy Jones(Provincial Head: Corporate Communication). Seated: Vivian Mosehli.
(Lower image): Innocentia Buthelezi (Edcon) handing over the trailer to Lt Gen Khehla Sitole.