To protect and serve. This is the main objective of the Special Response Team (SRT) which patrols across the Constantia Valley community. The team comprises of men who have police background, skills and the knowledge giving them the edge when patrolling the streets.
People’s Post joined them on a three-hour drive along with one of the former police officers to see what their job entails. The team is contracted by the Constantia Watch, which forms part of the Constantia Valley Watches Association (CVWA).
It comprises the Constantia Watch, BKM, Constantia, Constantia Hills, Golflinks, Nova Constantia, Plumstead and Southfield.
The aim of the CVWA is to improve measures that deter crime through shared intelligence, resources and collective effort. Grant [he does not want his surname to be disclosed], a team leader in the team of six men who rotate on a shift basis, has 14 years of police service.
During the patrol with Grant, it was evident he is extremely excited and proud of what he does. “I love doing what I do, which is to protect and serve the community,” says Grant.
“I have learned that communication is key in wanting to get people to cooperate or to even take us seriously when we are out on the job.”
Grant adds that their job is not only to spot suspicious people or movement in the area, but to help residents – even when all they need is to change a flat tyre.
“We are grateful that we work in an area where people are concerned about their safety and have taken responsibility for their safety and security,” he says.
“We, as the SRT, are a support mechanism along with the neighbourhood watch members. We can do a little bit more than a volunteer can, but our main objective is to ensure the safety of our contributors.”
The SRT shifts operate on a 12-hour basis and tag teams of two people work together. They patrol along the M3 up towards Rhodes Drive, Constantia Neck and the surrounding forests and private estates. Grant and his team have the knowledge to know what to look out for when patrolling as not everyone walking or sitting on a pavement is a suspect.
“We know when to stop, when to search and what to look out for when driving around in the community.”
Their work is not an easy task, says Grant, adding “we do it because we want to people to feel safe”.
During December, the SRT drove around patrolling for 6738km, attending to 65 complaints, checked 80 suspects, checked 105 vehicles, made 14 assisted arrests, did 65 hours of foot patrol on the green belts, assisted police and public 27 times, visited 124 residents’ premises and reported 14 open gates.
Their concerns include residents who do not test alarms or get them fixed, which would reduce false alarms. They also keep an eye on careless drivers who leave items of value in their vehicles, as well as assist in police operations such as road blocks and during accidents.
The increase of ATM fraud during and after the festive season is another concern for Grant and his men. The Constantia Watch is grateful for the contribution and thanks residents for their unwavering commitment and continued financial support.
“We certainly could not maintain the low crime rate without it. Our operations cost include our professional operations consultant, the SRT and ongoing camera maintenance,” says a watch member.
Original Source – People’s Post