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Published:  2015-03-14 Views:  1654
Author:  Fanie
Published in:  HartiesWatch
Demystifying Community Policing 2: WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

This is what it is all about: The reason why we have Community Police Forums (CPF's).

Someone had a bright idea, this idea gets momentum, politicians notice, the idea develops into a green paper, a white paper and eventually the idea gets engraved into a law of the country. I imagine the idea this time was: How can we improve interactions between SAP and the community?

A very important document was published in 1997, namely: THE COMMUNITY POLICE MANUAL. This document describes in detail how the SAP needs to change from a Police FORCE to a Police SERVICE. In time this enlightening document may also be discussed on this forum. Suffice now to say that the same spirit of SAP's focus on service to the community is found in Chapter 7 of the SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE ACT, No 68 of 1995, namely:

COMMUNITY POLICE FORUMS AND BOARDS.

 

The two important words here are: LAW and FORUM

LAW:

There is no choice about it - it has to be done and all citizens and government officials have to abide.

Community Police Forums must - by law - be established and maintained.

FORUM:

A forum is described by the dictionary as: A PLACE FOR DISCUSSION

There is thus a law that requires the establishment of a place for discussion, where SAP and the community must be involved.

The relevant paragraph in the Police Act is quoted below in full, for easy reference.

Although the establishment of a Community Police Forum at Police Station Level concerns us, the requirements for the establishment of Area and Provincial CPF Boards should also be kept in mind.

The most important aspects of Chapter 7 of the Police Act - which we need to understand - will be highlighted in the next article. 

 

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
No. 1527.
4 October 1995
NO. 68 OF 1995: SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE ACT, 1995.

 

CHAPTER 7
COMMUNITY POLICE FORUMS AND BOARDS


Objects of community police forums and boards

18. (1) The Service shall, in order to achieve the objects contemplated in
section 215 of the Constitution, liaise with the community through community
police forums and area and provincial community police boards, in accordance
with sections 19, 20 and 21, with a view to-
(a) establishing and maintaining a partnership between the community and
the Service;
(b) promoting communication between the Service and the community;
(c) promoting co-operation between the Service and the community in
fulfilling the needs of the community regarding policing;
(d) improving the rendering of police services to the community at
national, provincial, area and local levels;
(e) improving transparency in the Service and accountability of the Service
to the community; and
(f) promoting joint problem identification and problem-solving by the
Service and the community.
(2) This Chapter shall not preclude liaison by the Service with the community
by means other than through community police forums and boards.

Establishment of community police forums

19. (1) A Provincial Commissioner shall, subject to the directions of the
member of the Executive Council, be responsible for establishing community
police forums at police stations in the province which shall, subject to
subsection (3), be broadly representative of the local community.
(2) A community police forum may establish community police sub-forums.
(3) Subject to section 23(1)(b), the station commissioner and the members
designated by him or her from time to time for that purpose, shall be members
of the community police forum and sub-forums established at the police station
concerned.

Establishment of area community police boards

20. (1) A Provincial Commissioner shall, subject to the directions of the
member of the Executive Council, be responsible for establishing area
community police boards in all areas within the province.
(2) An area community police board shall, subject to subsection (3), consist
of representatives of community police forums in the area concerned designated
for that purpose by such community police forums.
(3) Subject to section 23(1)(b), the area commissioner and the members
designated by him or her from time to time for that purpose, shall be members
of the area community police board concerned.

Establishment of provincial community police boards
21. (1) A Provincial Commissioner shall, subject to the directions of the
member of the Executive Council, be responsible for establishing a provincial
community police board.
(2) A provincial community police board shall, subject to subsection (3),
consist of representatives of area community police boards designated for that
purpose by the area community police boards in the province concerned.
(3) Subject to section 23(1)(b), the Provincial Commissioner and the members
designated by him or her from time to time for that purpose, shall be members
of the provincial community police board concerned.
Functions of community police forums and boards
22. (1) A provincial or area community police board or a community police
forum or subforum shall perform the functions it deems necessary and
appropriate to achieve the objects contemplated in section 18, which may
include the functions contemplated in section 221(2) of the Constitution.
(2) The Minister shall, in consultation with the executive coordinating
committee, make regulations to ensure the proper functioning of community
police forums and sub-forums and community police boards.

Procedural matters

23. (1) Every provincial or area community police board and community police
forum or sub-forum shall-
(a) elect one of its members as chairperson and another one as
vice-chairperson;
(b) determine the number of members to be designated by the provincial,
area or station commissioner concerned to serve as members of the
board, forum or subforum concerned: Provided that that number shall
not be less than one in addition to the provincial, area or station
commissioner concerned;
(c) determine its own procedure and cause minutes to be kept of its
proceedings; and
(d) whenever it deems it necessary, co-opt other members or experts or
community leaders to the board or forum in an advisory capacity.
(2) Members of community police forums or boards shall render their services
on a voluntary basis and shall have no claim to compensation solely for
services rendered to such forums and boards.
(3) The majority of the members of the board, forum or sub-forum concerned
shall constitute a quorum at a meeting thereof.
(4) If the chairperson of a board or forum referred to in this section is
absent from a meeting, the vice-chairperson shall act as chairperson, and if
both the chairperson and vice-chairperson are so absent, the members present
shall elect one of their number to preside at that meeting.

 


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