Residents, cops build relationship over coffee at Pretoria shopping centre
Pretoria’s Akasia residents got a chance to meet their local friendly police officer during the Coffee with a Cop event held at the Wonderpark Shopping Centre, in Akasia on Friday, 16 April 2021. The Tshwane Emergency Services Department deployed resources in support of the South African Police Service. Coffee with a Cop is an international imitative aimed at building a healthy relationship between the community and their police. The event was hosted in conjunction with the Provincial Social Crime Prevention Unit, gave attendees a chance to interact with Police officers and get feedback on the issues that they encountered within the surrounding area.
Akasia police spokesperson Sergeant Matsobane Mabusela said such events helped them build a relationship with the community, adding that their ongoing events would be focused on crime. “Wonderpark Shopping Centre laid the foundation and we would like to host our future sessions here,” he said.
City of Tshwane EMS had a mobile incident command unit and audio visual unit from Station 1 (Bosman), a type II rescue pumper from Station 2 (Rosslyn), a Type II hazmat vehicle from Station 5 (Wonderboom) and the deputy chief-public information and liaison officer from Tshwane Emergency Services HQ (Pieter Delport Centre) on scene.
During the programme, which was held in three phases, various matters of concern within the Akasia policing precinct were discussed. The first phase of the programme is Coffee with a Cop while phase two, which was slightly more formal, saw senior members of the SAPS, community and the shopping centre’s management engage with patrons. During this phase, a live stream to Kenya, where the same event was being hosted, was also hosted. Those in the live stream were able to see and hear which topics were being addressed and shared their input on possible solutions.
The third phase of the programme, which entailed a static exhibition, saw different role players showcase their resources and services. Exhibitors included City of Tshwane EMS, Tshwane Metro Police and the SAPS Highway Patrol, Fidelity Security, Missing Children group, Tracker, Knight Guard Security and Netcare 911, among others.
Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, via social media, encouraged the officers to ensure that the relationships they established at the event should be nurtured.
“This event sets a less intimidating scene and encourages positive interaction,” the shopping centre’s spokesperson Elizma Mouton said. “Police officers are often seen as unreachable while they were doing their work. So it was an absolute joy to see our police officers and customers engage. This event gave them an opportunity to meet the human behind the uniform.”
The event’s co-founder, Chris Cognac, sent his well wishes also all the way from Disney World in Florida in the US.
Sources: Charles Mabaso, deputy chief: public information and liaison officer, City of Tshwane Emergency Services; The Pretoria Record