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City tests civil society intelligence grapevine<p>The City's partnership with Neighbourhood Watches is well-documented, through the NW Support Programme.</p><p>Over time, the role of NWs has morphed from basic patrols and a visible presence in their communities, to working more closely with enforcement services, and even monitoring CCTV cameras in their areas. </p><p>The City is now trialing a new initiative that seeks to tap into the very unique position that NWs and other community safety structures hold, and to help strengthen information sharing and verification, as well as support from these organisations, particularly during times of crisis or disaster.</p><p>'Community structures like neighbourhood watches are very often first responders, but also have an ear to the ground in their communities – making them valuable partners in the intelligence sharing space during times of crisis. So if, for example, we start hearing chatter about a protest or flooding or any other public safety risk, the organisations on our dedicated WhatsApp channel can easily help verify or confirm information, but more importantly, the platform will give them a direct line to our Joint Operations Centre. Other benefits are that we can cut through the noise far more easily, and more importantly, we are able to direct resources appropriately, and speedily,' said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.</p><p>The City has established a dedicated WhatsApp line where a maximum of two representatives per Neighbourhood Watch can join, and be part of the collaboration initiative. </p><p>In the event of a crisis, these representatives would use the platform to communicate information to the City as part of its response planning and execution.</p><p>The dry run on Saturday, 11 May 2024 was the first opportunity to test the system. </p><p><span></span></p><figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"><img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:1069px;" /></figure>​​Coordinated from a Joint Operations Centre in Goodwood, there were scenarios in five areas – protest action in Hout Bay, Costa Da Gama (Muizenberg) and Sir Lowry's Pass Village; as well as the escorting of food trucks in Strand, and a missing person in the Milnerton area.<div><br><p></p><p> <span></span></p><figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"><img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:1069px;" /></figure>​​'This concept is very simple, but potentially incredibly valuable. The more credible information is available, the easier it is to plan, or respond, and who better to be involved than our safety partners at community level. This dry run will go a long way in helping to formalise this practice, and building it into our standard operating procedures going forward,' added Alderman Smith. <p></p><p><br></p></div>2024-05-11T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#3bd13869-3207-4532-9db7-a4ca95867a50;L0|#03bd13869-3207-4532-9db7-a4ca95867a50|JP Smith;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GPP|#3f57ea8a-3adb-4a8f-bb3a-0a20a62c7fe9;GP0|#282872ae-35e1-439f-97ba-12ac7e2b10d4;L0|#0282872ae-35e1-439f-97ba-12ac7e2b10d4|neighbourhood watch10

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