Effective crime curbing

Take responsibility

25 October 2021 | Local News

Ileni Shapumba, Erongo Police; “Parents need to check on their children’s behaviour.”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

“Community involvement in children’s lives is of huge importance,” says inspector Illeni Shapumba, the unit commander for community affairs in the Erongo region. The police were recently called to a local high school following a fight between learners. A hammer, a panga and a large piece of wood were confiscated from the learners (boys). “It is really unfortunate that school children have become so violent. They went to and fetched these weapons at home to fight. A school is supposed to be a learning and peaceful environment. Parents need to check on their children’s behaviour. The school on the other hand needs to remind parents of this responsibility and the police need to be called in immediately when incidents such as this happen.” Four learners were suspended after the fight. “Through this their learning process has been hampered, and what are we in turn producing? If you are out of school, there is no future!”

Shapumba implored schools to take drastic measures when criminal activities occur on their premises. “Schools need to discipline the children, bring in the parents, social workers. However, when you talk to the parents about the child’s behaviour, they do not want to expose or let their kids be accused, until the situation gets worse.” He pointed out that many parents come to the police saying they cannot handle their child, and want to chase him out of their house. “As soon as parents observe strange behaviour in their children, we need to take action. Issues of drugs are very easy to identify; children come home with a strange smell and tend to isolate themselves. This is strange behaviour and as parents we must question it. As soon as you identify the issue, address it, otherwise it will escalate.”

According to Shapumba, drug dealers recruit children from ages eight to ten years, as “runners”. “Seeing them on the street, with backpacks, you think the child is going home from school. In the meantime, they are delivering drugs. We do not know how the dealers have advanced but we need to be on the lookout and ready.” Shapumba elaborated on the term “juvenile delinquencies”.
“The behaviours people grow up with, affects their future. If the criminals were properly looked after when they were children, we could have had less criminals today. By allowing children to be exposed to criminal activities, we can forget about having a crimeless future.”

He emphasised that the grownup of today is responsible for the current generation. “We should not leave them to resort to criminal activities in future. Let us reduce crime where we can, by looking after our young ones.”

New name

The inspector emphasised the aforementioned issues at a Police Public Relations Committee (PPRC) meeting. Various stakeholders, including the police, business community and local neighbourhood watches, met to discuss some of the social issues experienced in the community. These meetings were usually held under the banner of Police Public Relations Committee (PPRC), but due to Covid-19 the committee became dormant.

To revive the PPRC its name has been changed to the Station Community Policing Forum. “We revived the forum to tackle social issues that promote crime. We involved the business community, neighbourhood watch, schools, nurses, the courts. All these are stakeholders and must come together to discuss issues on crime and issues that lead to the commissioning and committing of crimes.” He said that the next step is to establish the Regional Community Policing Forum.

“This is the regional body. Each station has a Station Community Policing Forum that reports to the regional committee, which in turn reports to the national forum. We are looking forward to tackling crime in our communities.”

Inspector Ileni Shapumba, Erongo unit commander for community affairs. Photo Leandrea Louw

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