By Danica Hansen

Metro police performed a mini concert for the children at the Chershire Home Spark Estate recently.

The visit was part of the Community Outreach Programme (COP), an initiative taken on by Metro to inform the community and combat fear within the community. Captain Keogh had the children clapping in good cheer as he belted out Elvis covers and old favourites from The Beatles. The highlight of the performance was when Keogh had Cheshire Home’s staff join him as ‘back-up singers’ decked out in Elvis-inspired sunglasses with comical sideburns attached. Armed with funny props, the staff busted out all the moves with their toy guitars and percussion shakers.

Captain Peter Keogh and Inspector Fourie have been conducting the COP events for the last five years. COP was the brainchild of Sbonelo Mchunu who was recently appointed as the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Durban Metro Police said Fourie.

The Community Outreach Program is part of Metro’s function in the Communication Section and Keogh, who handles the “crime tips” section of the programme has been in service for 41 years. “We reach out to previously disadvantaged schools, the frail, terminally ill and organisations in the eThekwini Area. Our aim is to ensure that Durban Metro Police reaches out to the welfare of the citizens of eThekwini communities,” said Keogh.

The outreach usually includes a visit from Fourie’s police dog, Lexi. Service dogs are trained to work with police and community members are not usually permitted to touch police dogs aside form Lexi, who is trained especially for COP. “I have been in the Dog Unit for over 20 years and I saw the need to educate the people in the community on the functions of Police Dogs and that not all police dogs are vicious and just want to bite people,” said Fourie.

Manager at Cheshire Home, Sparks Estate, Wendy Maharaj said that the visit was appreciated by the children. “This was exciting, our children love music, they love interaction and we appreciate it when members of our community get involved, be it with donations or spending time here,” said Maharaj. The initiative is supported by Metro Senior Superintendent, Parboo Sewpersadh who said that COP would bolster the image of the Metro Police.

“These two members of Durban Metropolitan are a true inspiration to their fellow colleagues in our organisation. They have their
work cut out for them in the next six months with extensive out reach programmes,” said Sewpersadh.