n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Creating sector policing synergy : co-producing grassroots police-community partnerships

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This article contextualises sector policing as a 'community policing' approach to crime prevention within the participation and partnership debate. Challenges with regards to the implementation of sector policing the past fifteen to twenty years should be prioritised by the South African Police Service (SAPS). Securing commitment of SAPS leadership and grassroots commanders and the mobilisation of SAPS and community-based resources such as Community Police Forums (CPFs) and neighbourhood watches should be re-visited. This should be facilitated within the context of co-producing local meaning-giving spaces for community participation and partnerships with the SAPS. Through co-produced SAPS-community planning regimes and the establishment of context-specific crime prevention frameworks at grassroots, both the SAPS and community stakeholders need to be innovative. Both partners require to synergise; to surpass the current impasse of grassroots distrust, disillusionment and apathy towards the SAPS, while on the other hand absent communities that are losing faith in their ability to drive change, remains a civil society challenge. This article is based on an international literature review; the construction of an analytical linkage between policing and community development principles and strategies; empirical research and practical experience by the authors in the field of community policing based on two case studies in Limpopo and the Western Cape; participation in the establishment and management of CPFs and neighbourhood watches and the training of senior SAPS members during nationally accredited short courses on integrated community development planning and community participation. The article intends to highlight the challenges faced by sector policing via reference to neighbourhood watches. A 'mind shift' is called for among SAPS policy-makers, civil society stakeholders and communities affected by crime. It is the author's contention that through co-production, authentic and empowering community participation and the establishment of grassroots spaces through local partnerships, such as sector policing and neighbourhood watches, that crime can be more effectively addressed in South Africa.


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