Application of car guard policy now critical

In an attempt to find a prompt solution to the issue of car guards in Swakopmund, the Police Public Relations Committee (PPRC) decided to fast-track its implementation of a policy developed particularly to deal with car guards and how the proper control of car guards can curb crime. This was announced this week during the PPRC meeting.
The issue surrounding little or no control over car guards in Swakopmund has been a concern for many years.
Currently, anybody in possession of a reflective jacket can be a car guard.
Whilst many car guards have been in the business for many years and are earning an honest living, the lack of control is exploited by criminals too.
These bad elements act as car guards, to get an opportunity to harass people and steal whenever possible.
“It is usually the newcomers who harass people and who result in bona fide car guards getting a bad name.
During this recent meeting specific questions were raised over the car guard policy. The policy was approved by the Swakopmund Town Council in March 2016, but implementation lacks.
The policy contains specific rules for car guards and requires them to register by filling in a form and thereafter receive a specific identification tag.
“When I contacted the Municipality about a form car guards are required to fill out, we were informed that a form does not yet exist. Why does it take so long to draw up a form?”, PPRC Chairperson Anett Kötting asked.
The municipal car guard policy was drawn up after the Swakopmund traffic department in 2016 launched an investigation into the activities of car guards in town.
During this investigation, it was determined having car guards in town increased the number of theft from motor vehicles.
Instead of reducing crime, car guards actually added to the problem.
“When they made enough money for the day, the car guards leave. They don’t have replacements and nobody knows when and where the next car guard is. The investigation also determined car guards engage in activities, like reading newspapers, instead of paying attention to the surroundings to spot potential criminals. There were also complaints of car guards consuming alcohol and making matters uncomfortable for the public.
The fundamental concern identified by the study was many car guards actually do not understand what their exact role is.
In an attempt to address these concerns, Council in March 2016 decided the operations of existing car guards are not properly managed.
The policy was developed and put in place, but the problem with car guards persists.

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