HPP Newsletter - November 2023
Supplementing Municipal Services for a Safe, Clean and Healthy HSRA
Dear Hermanus Special Rating Area (HSRA) Property Owner,
- A Safety Kiosk was positioned at Swallow Park.
- A Ladies’ Safety Workshop was held.
- HPP attended the Overstrand Public Safety forum for Festive Season planning.
- HPP’s Festive Season Safety Plan was finalised.
- HPP’s position on managing the presence of Vagrants, Beggars and Unauthorised Car Guards, was restated.
- Special requests for cleaning our environment were attended to.
I have previously reported on the valuable lessons which have been learned from the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District and the Cape Town Central City Improvement District. One of these lessons has been the contribution which mobile Safety Kiosks make to furthering safety in critical areas.
HPP now has its own, fully branded, Safety Kiosk which will, as a first location, be placed at Swallow Park. The kiosk is equipped with a surveillance camera and will be manned by an HPP guard who will patrol the vicinity of the kiosk. The kiosk will also be available for use as a point of information for visitors to Hermanus.
In addition, the kiosk can easily be moved to alternative areas during festivals and other public occasions. The kiosk was purchased in full adherence to HPP’s Procurement Policy.
Ladies Safety Workshop
The Ladies Safety Workshop took place on November 4, drawing much positive feedback from the 25 attendees.
The morning session covered online safety, addressing the escalating concerns of online scams and fraud, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Attendees benefited from safety tips and shared stories. The second session focused on personal safety, with a presentation led by a SAPS Detective and Martial Arts Instructor. The session included a demonstration of techniques aimed at empowering attendees to defend themselves in the event of a contact crime.
We extend our gratitude to the presenters, Lirene van Zyl, Ann Droomer of Onverwag, and Ruehan van Romburg of Legacy Martial Arts Academy, for generously sharing their expertise and time with the group. The workshop proved to be highly informative and relevant.
HPP’s Festive Season Safety Plan
HPP plays a crucial role in the Festive Season Plan coordinated with local law enforcement agencies. As in past years, HPP will provide extended services from 15 December to 15 January to bolster public safety during the festive season. This year, up to nine HPP foot patrol officers will initiate patrols on the Cliff Path daily, from 05:30 to 20:00.
Everyday up to four night guards will conduct patrols in the CBD overnight, easily identifiable by their distinctive red bibs. To address potential issues related to increased waste during the season, additional bike patrols will operate on bin collection days, aiming to manage an upsurge in bin pickers in suburban areas.
HPP is committed to your safety 24/7, with a manned control room, foot and vehicle patrollers in the field, and CCTV coverage throughout the HSRA. Should you need assistance or wish to report an incident, please contact the HPP call centre at 087 550 5295.
HPP’s position on managing the presence of Vagrants, Beggars and Unauthorised Car Guards
HPP fully understands the frustration and anger experienced by property and business owners, as well as visitors, who bear the brunt of unacceptable behaviour and harassment of vagrants, beggars, and unauthorised car guards. We will continue to go out of our way, within the directives of our mandate, to respond to calls for help and address these problems.
Please be aware that HPP doesn’t have the authority to rid Hermanus of these problems. There are no specific laws which enable us to do so. People have the right to use public spaces, and HPP’s role primarily revolves around ensuring public safety. If any vagrant, beggar, or unauthorised car guard violates by-laws or commits a crime, HPP will respond promptly and firmly. We may not attend to matters on private properties; this is outside of our mandate. It is for South African Police Service (SAPS) and private security companies to respond.
The South African Constitution allows for people to have freedom of association and movement. All HPP foot and vehicle patrollers are trained to de-escalate situations as quickly as possible. As the patrollers work the same beats, they use various tactics to deal with various individuals. However, they are also conscious that they are dealing with public members and need to handle situations professionally.
Daily HPP patrollers attend to all municipal parking areas to check for unauthorised car guards and ask them, in a firm manner, to leave the area. If there is resistance, Overstrand Law Enforcement (OMLE) is contacted to assist. HPP also report any unauthorised car guard that is seen to be breaching their agreed code of conduct with the Overstrand Muncipality.
HPP attend to complaints regarding begging, unauthorised car guards or any other individual who is perceived to be an issue. We do so by asking the relevant persons, in a firm manner, to leave the area. Only if they have breached a by-law or committed a crime can, we escalate the matter to OMLE or SAPS.
We have a very good working relationship with OMLE and SAPS members on the ground as well as with various senior members of the organisations. Our standard operating procedures are known to each other and aligned.
HPP have implemented a People Management System that allows us to link persistent perpetrators to incidents. We continue to work with OMLE, SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure that criminal elements are dealt with, despite challenges in the overloaded legal system.
We are thankful that our crime prevention statistics reflect a positive impact in the area, as we proactively address incidents before they escalate. HPP is involved in approximately 5 or 6 arrests each month. We are fortunate to live in a relatively safe place, where we can freely use public spaces and call for immediate assistance if needed.
Cleaning our environment
In the past month a total of 280 black bags with refuse were collected, including the cleaning of all the beach and cliff path rubbish bins, as well as Hoy’s Koppie.
Special requests which were received and attended to included:
- Cleaning up in the area of Rowweklip where vagrants seemed to have stayed over and left a Checkers trolley, as well as quite a load of rubbish in the coastal area off the path.
- Cleaning in the Westcliff area where a resident complained about rubbish, as well as parts of a fridge that was dumped in the bushes off the path.
Stories of Interest
HPP controllers and patrollers faced a surge of incidents throughout November. In addition to addressing routine matters, this month witnessed our team successfully apprehending shoplifters, intercepting ATM scammers, rescuing a paraglider, recovering stolen items, and apprehending suspects. Alongside assisting with various emergencies, our dedicated HPP patrollers and controllers consistently demonstrated their commitment and often went above and beyond their duties.
A recent example of our team’s dedication occurred when a patrolling officer escorted a couple to their vehicle in the CBD during load shedding after a late dinner, ensuring they departed safely. This past weekend, two response patrollers, equipped with full armour, traversed Fernkloof Mountain to aid in the rescue of a hiker facing a medical emergency. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our exceptional team, whose professionalism and compassion consistently shine through.
We also acknowledge and appreciate the collaborative efforts between HPP, Fidelity-ADT, Core Tactical Services, Hermanus Neighbourhood Watch, Alfa Neighbourhood Watch, CU Live, Overstrand Law Enforcement, and SAPS. The selfless dedication from all involved ensures the safety of the community and contributes to the overall magnificence of our town.
On behalf of the HPP Board and our Executive Officer, I wish you a safe and blessed festive season.
The next newsletter will be published at the end of January.
That is all for now and as always, I look forward to receiving your comments on the contents of this newsletter.I urge you to be vigilant and aware.
Jerry van Niekerk