GEORGE NEWS - With the Eden police cluster having a personnel shortage of 7%, there is an increased focus on the recruitment of police reservists in the area.
While giving an overview of crime trends and the current situation in the Garden Route District during a safety summit on Tuesday 5 October, Eden cluster commander, Maj-Gen Oswald Reddy, also confirmed a 7% personnel shortage of detectives and 5% shortage at station level.
"At this stage we have 47 active reservists in the Eden Cluster (George, Bitou, Kannaland, Oudtshoorn and Knynsa), so there's major focus on the recruiting of additional reservists," said Reddy.
Reddy pointed out that the availability of alcohol, from licensed premises or not, is one of the key crime generators. Other devils that lead to violence and crime include drug abuse, domestic issues, and the possession of dangerous weapons.
Local police, Community Police Forum (CPF) and neighbourhood watch members have been involved in a number of crime-fighting operations from April until September this year.
A comparison between crime statistics over the past six months and those for the full 2018/2019 financial year painted an alarming picture.
More than 2 600 awareness campaigns were initiated in the last six months. According to Reddy, awareness campaigns often cause an increase in the crime figures as more cases of abuse or violence are reported afterwards. A total of 1 761 raids at various liquor outlets were also conducted during this time, compared with 2 765 during the entire 2018/2019 financial year.
Police have also made a point of visiting various schools in the area, with school visits already amounting to over half of the 42 338 of last year. A total of 77 raids at schools have also been conducted since April. During these raids police mainly search for weapons and drugs.
Number of arrests
Since April this year, more than 18 940 arrests have been made compared with the last financial year where a total of 10 545 people were arrested. 704 people have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and 6 028 for other alcohol-related charges. A total of 2 355 people were arrested for drug-related crimes and 2 608 arrests have been made in connection with contact crimes.
Since April more than 7 900 Mandrax tablets and 20ml of liquid heroine have been confiscated throughout the Eden Cluster. Police have also removed 718 cannabis plants compared with the last financial year's 233. 10,5kg of tik was seized compared with the 2018/2019 financial year when a total of 16,6kg was seized.
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