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Villagers police their own community

Limpho Sello

MAFETENG — Villagers in Matelile have found an effective way of dealing with crime. A community policing programme in the area involves active participation of mem­bers of the community in fighting crime working in harmony with the police. The villagers patrol their own villages and have the power to arrest after which police initiate prosecution accordingly. The project, which was launched in 2011 in the wake of rampant crime which was slowly ravaging the Matelile commu­nity, has a very pronounced presence in all the surrounding villages in the region.

Villagers and police officers from Mateli­le celebrated the second year of the advent of community policing and crime preven­tion on Wednesday. According to Sergeant Patsa Majoro of the Matelile Police Station, the project was also launched in an effort to forge warm relations between the police and the villag­ers in the region. Majoro said although members of the community were initially reluctant to join in, their involvement in the project has en­sured remarkable success in curbing crime as they have been able to arrest scores of criminals which they previously couldn’t do owing to scarcity of human resources.

“We wanted them to help us fight ram­pant crimes, especially murder,” Majoro said. Matelile community policing chairper­son, Moeti Moiloa, said the celebration was an opportunity to review past flaws in or­der to move on with greater success. “In celebrating this day we simply look back at our past in order to identify areas of improvement for a better future,” Moiloa said. “It is their responsibility as a community to look after their property, including or­phans and the elderly,” he said.

Moiloa said they are able to do their work perfectly with the police’s assistance as they are guided on how to handle crimi­nals after the arrest. The occasion was also graced by Michael Molefe who is Member of Parliament for the ’Maliepetsana constituency who commended the residents for their active in­volvement in reducing crime in their com­munity. “I so wish the government could recog­nised the effort taken by these people and maybe in future grant them some incen­tives as they endanger their lives by fight­ing crime,” Molefe said.

Molefe, however, said he was worried by the brutal murders of elderly people that happened recently in the area and encour­aged the community and police to work even harder to arrest suspects. On behalf of residents of the region, Ha-Seeiso resident Moeketsi Ramollo said the community policing project has brought positive change in the community since the bars now close on time unlike in the past when they operated for 24 hours.

“Nocturnal movement is also managed with the same aim of reducing crime in the area,” Ramollo said. He said no animals are expected to be seen outside the kraals after six in the evening while people are expected to be in­doors by eight at night. He said crime had been drastically re­duced in the area.

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