For the very first time, Umbilo SAPS new station commander, Kernel John Romer, came face to face with the communities under his areas of jurisdiction.

Romer has been in the office as a new commander for two months since the departure of Kernel Gerald Mkhize, and was officially introduced to the public on Saturday, 3 November. In his engagement with local residents during the meet and greet event held at Port Natal School, kernel Romer heard many testimonies direct from the community on how deep-seated the issues of crime in Umbilo and Glenwood were. The community said that crime, especially burglary, armed robbery and mugging were among the prime concerns.

Erica Montgomery said that the crime rate was growing day by day. ”I have recently witnessed many crime incidents, and the latest was the burglary to the house of my neighbour. It was fortunate that no one in the household was injured,” she claimed. Shen Joubert, who lives in Glenwood, also raised concern on the rising in crime levels. “In my view, crime in the area has reached the unprecedented level. I think much effort is needed to stop it before it gets worse from what it is currently,”‘ said Joubert.

In his remarks, made after listening to community, Kernel Romer vowed that he was armed with all the ammunitions necessary for his job and he was ready to turn the tide on crime. ”I know that crime is bad in these areas, and urgent actions need to be taken in order to address the issue of crime completely,” said Romer. He then assured communities that their safety was guaranteed under his guard as he came to the office already prepared for the new tasks.

During proceeding, a variety of law-enforcement resources including police chopper were displayed to the public to show police’s readiness to tackle crime. ”This is a day where us, as police, declare a war on crime. As you know that fighting crime is not only limited to police officers, but you the public also have a role to play in ensuring that we do away with all forms of crime. We are here to work together as one united force,” he said.

He further announced the re-instatement of all previously operational community crime fighting structures including crime watching street commitees and Community Policing forums (CPFs). The community was urged to make use of the structures as they will be revitalised and made efficient enough to work hand in hand with police. ”Make use of these structures to reporting crime, however serious or petty crime maybe. These structures are made up of members who are equipped enough to serve you at their level. And, they work closely with police,” he said.

Police officers pledged their commitment in the new commanders crusade to eradicate crime. Colonel Stanley Sewman also asked for cooperation from local residents. ”Please make sure that you do not keep silent when noticing criminal activities going on around your area. Make sure that you report, then we will act swiftly.”

The community was urged to contact police for feedback on any investigation of their concerns. They were also encouraged to feel free to request for the re-investigation for closed cases, should they feel not satisfied with the outcomes on cases that maybe closed.