Another boost for crime fighting in Plett
Criminals in Plettenberg Bay now have one more reason to shake in their boots after local crime fighters bolstered their resources by acquiring a motorcycle to pursue suspects.
Local security companies Smhart Alarms and Plett Security donated a motorcycle to the Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association (PBCPA) and this was handed over to the organisation at the Formosa
Garden Village on Monday 2 July.
PBCPA chair Bruce Richardson said the motorcycle would boost their efforts dramatically. “A motorcycle is much more manoeuvrable and can pursue suspects down bush paths and places where motor vehicles can’t go,” he said. Shared costs
PBCPA member Riana Venter will be tasked to utilise the motorcycle in their crime-fighting efforts while the two security companies will absorb the maintenance and insurance costs.
Local Rotary Anns sponsored the motorcycle clothing and John Wilschut and Christine Templeman the signage.
The PBCPA, which consists of various safety and security stakeholders from the police and Bitou municipal law enforcement to security companies and members of the community, has over the past eight years steadily built up their resources in an effort to safeguard Plett residents and to support local crime-fighting authorities.
These resources now include not only the motorcycle but also a dog unit, a rapid response team, a JOCC, a CCTV control room and various other resources. ‘One of the safest towns’
“I firmly believe that Plettenberg Bay is one of the safest towns on the planet. And the reason I say this is because this community has come together to make it so. Community participation is so important. You have a situation where help is close at hand if you are in trouble. You can phone the PBCPA and someone will be there to assist you in a matter of minutes,” Richardson said.
Operations head Otto Olivier added that in no way is the PBCPA a replacement for formal law enforcement, but it plays a major role in supporting them.
“The strength of the bonds built on trust over time has resulted in a great working relationship between all security and emergency stakeholders. The PBCPA members grew into a formidable crime prevention force.” Pulling resources
The PBCPA executive team consists of the Plett police commander, the Bitou Public Safety commander, various security company owners and managers, emergency services owners and managers, the community police forums of Kwanokuthula and Plett, and Plett businessmen.
Olivier said that public order police are deployed during serious incidents. These include anything from farm attacks to riots. “This highly trained specialised team is stationed in George and it takes them an hour or more to get to Plett. During the farm attacks in the Boschfontein/Wittedrift area the problem was discussed with various members and active neighbourhood response and patrol teams. The need for a qualified and trained rapid response team was identified.”
So far 10 members have formed part of this team. Great skills improvement
“Rapid response team crime simulation and fitness training started a couple months ago. Various different crime scenarios were set up across Plett for training purposes and all was completed successfully. The team’s skills development improved with leaps and bounds.”
Olivier said that during a recent farm attack simulation on Airport Road, the rapid response team executed the correct protocols, corrective action was taken and procedures adhered to which resulted in a positive outcome. “The simulation was rated by a high-ranking police officer as excellent and gave the team his vote of confidence.” ‘Valuable impact in community’
Olivier said that during the recent riots every rapid response member proved their worth.
“They had a valuable impact, especially during the first night when the protest evolved into criminality. Their swift action prevented further loss, when two business premises were looted and ransacked.”
The PBCPA also has a 24/7 control room which includes CCTV footage, from across town. Those monitoring have been trained to spot suspicious activity or individuals through several ways, including bodylanguage reading. All assistance for own cost
The PBCPA public domain CCTV camera project maintenance and camera footage relay to the control room is sponsored by The Computer Shop at a minimal cost and ADT recently sponsored the replacement of a broken camera at the Beacon Isle Hotel.
The operational costs for this control room are carried by Smhart Alarms and Plett Security while each security company carries the cost of their responses to various situations. Neighbourhood watch group volunteers carry all their costs – from petrol and vehicle use to cellphone and data costs.
After last year’s June fires, Olivier said, the necessity for a mobile JOCC was identified. “Two security companies bought the caravan, Beacon Isle Kwik Spar sponsored the branding and Buco the power system. K9 in the mix
“Electronics and protective clothing were donated by various residents and members of good standing. Plett’s mobile JOCC is stationed at Beacon Isle Total garage and all maintenance costs are absorbed by Smhart Alarms and Plett Security.
Although police have an “excellent dog handler”, the dog and the handler are stationed at the Knysna Dog Unit and the operation area is vast. “This left a void in our vision to reduce criminal activities in the greater Bitou area. Plett now has its own track and attack dog with 24/7 handler. This was made possible through valued sponsorships.”
“The PBCPA is an NPO and nonspecific donations that we receive are used in crime prevention operations or used to equip neighbourhood watch groups across the greater Bitou. All financial, audited records are open for public inspection.”
PBCPA member Riana Venter will be using the organisation’s new motorcycle to pursue suspects.