OH WATCH Code Of Conduct
1st Draft Protocol / Code of Conduct.
1. Aims and Objectives
6. Identity Cards
8. Conduct and Patrol Procedure
9. Working with SAPS
(Note: Italics are used where this Protocol follows the words of the Oranjezicht Higgovale Watch (OHW) constitution)
1. Aims and Objectives:
• To nurture a sense of unity, dedication and good neighbourly relations among the residents of Oranjezicht & Higgovale.
• To assist the local police to safeguard the community against criminal activities and strive for a safe and secure environment.
• To provide a channel through which local communities can play a meaningful role in crime prevention in a manner that is ethical and non-violent.
• To create public awareness with regard to safety, crime prevention and protection of families and their property.
• To encourage the community to work in close co-operation with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and other structures such as local authorities who are involved in law enforcement.
• To unite a diverse residency in creating a stable and crime free environment.
• OHW is not a legal person and functions within the guidelines provided by and set out in the Western Cape Provincial Constitution and Code of Conduct for Neighbourhood Watch Structures.
• An acknowledgement to this effect must be signed by all members of OHW clearly indemnifying the Neighbourhood Watch Structure.
• The acknowledgement must clearly state that OHW is a voluntary association.
• Each member of OHW shall sign an indemnity to be given to the Sector Leader before taking part in any patrol on behalf of OHW.
• OHW is not a legal person and as such does not have powers of whatever nature which might be in law to act or be acted upon.
• All individual members act in their own capacity as individuals and liability will be in that capacity.
• OHW will not be responsible for civil and or criminal actions or omissions that are perpetrated by a member of OHW nor responsible for civil and or criminal actions or omissions against its members.
• All and any criminal and civil actions that are instituted against a member of OHW will be against the member concerned and not OHW.
• Any damage or injury to any member of OHW or his or her property when such member is acting as a member of OHW in whatsoever capacity shall, subject to claims against third parties, be the sole and absolute responsibility of the member.
• OHW carries no insurances whatsoever for members or their families or dependants.
• Members of OHW must take all such steps as they choose to establish their own legal position as to their personal/ accident/medical or vehicle insurances and assurances.
• OHW will be accountable to SAPS in the first instance and shall also be accountable to the local Community Police Forum.
• Each member of OHW shall give to his or her Sector Leader a written report of all incidents during any patrol or similar duty within 24 hours of completion of such patrol or similar action on behalf of OHW.
• The form of written report is attached to this protocol and a blank form will be given to or available to each member before the member embarks upon any patrol.
• The Sector Leaders shall give all completed forms to the Crime Prevention Officer at each Sector Leaders meeting under the constitution of OHW.
• Upon handing the completed forms to the Crime Prevention Officer the terms of Clause 4 shall be deemed to have been complied with.
• If SAPS or the Crime Prevention Officer reasonably require a statement to be made earlier than the time referred to above, the member of OHW and the Sector Leader shall comply with such request.
• OHW must assist SAPS in crime prevention in the Oranjezicht & Higgovale area.
• OHW will adopt and support the social crime prevention policy of SAPS.
• OHW must operate within the framework of the law. Only minimum force may be used to secure an arrest as defined in Criminal Procedure Act No. 51 of 1977.
• OHW members will have powers similar to that of any other citizen to perform a citizen’s arrest and the requirements set out in the Criminal Procedure Act No. 51 of 1977 will be adhered to and complied with at all times.
• Members of OHW have the same rights as any member of the public to arrest a perpetrator of an offence or of any person reasonably suspected of being about to commit an offence.
6. Identity Cards:
• All members of OHW will have identity cards and must carry these cards at all times when on patrol on behalf of OHW.
• The identity cards of members must contain a recent photograph of the member, his or her full names, identity number and the member’s legible signature.
• The identity cards shall refer to Caledon Police Station and be signed by the SAPS local station commissioner.
• All identity cards shall be validated annually
• Any member losing his or her identity card shall forthwith report such loss to the Sector Leader.
• Only members of OHW as defined in the constitution may go on any patrol.
• No person under the age of eighteen years shall be a member of OHW.
• All members of OHW must at all times act in a non-violent manner. No member may take the law into his or her own hands irrespective of circumstances.
• No member of OHW will display racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination towards any other member and any other person.
• No member shall carry any weapon perceived to be dangerous that could inflict serious bodily harm or damage to property. This includes dangerous weapons as defined by law when patrolling. Only weapons for the sole purpose of self defence as approved by the Provincial Commissioner, SAPS – Western Cape may be used.
• All members with firearms taken on any patrol shall declare these to the local SAPS Crime Prevention Officer before going on patrol.
• Should a member of OHW be found guilty of a criminal offence committed when the member is operating formally as a OHW member, OHW will take such disciplinary actions as are considered appropriate by the Committee and will issue a public statement regarding its action.
• Members of OHW shall not divulge any confidential or privileged information that they may have acquired as a result of their membership of OHW.
• No member of OHW may exploit his or her membership for personal advantage or benefit.
• Members of OHW must at all times act in a manner that will uphold and promote the aims and objectives of OHW.
8. Conduct and Patrol Procedure:
• The master registration form of which a draft is attached hereto must be filled in before each patrol. All details of name; cell phone number; vehicle registration number and area to be patrolled must be legibly recorded. Details of any weapons carried must be provided.
• Members of OHW are permitted to carry and use high intensity torches up to ten million candlepower.
• Pepper spray or CS gas emitters and electric stun guns are permitted but may only be used in self defence when physical damage has been committed or is reasonably expected to be committed.
• Each member going on patrol must have at least one cell phone in each car or group of members on foot patrol.
• Each cell phone used on patrol shall contain in the memory the cell phone number of the response vehicle cell phone; the Oranjezicht & Higgovale SAPS telephone number and the cell phone number of at least one of the other patrols on duty during the same roster hours
• Members of OHW are not expected or required to confront any persons of any race creed or gender whether they are suspected of being about to commit a crime or having committed a crime. The duty of members on patrol is to report any suspicious person or vehicle in the neighbourhood. Members shall use their own discretion as to whether to drive around their allocated Sector or whether to remain stationary and in the latter instance whether or not to keep the vehicle’s engine running.
• The report shall be by cell phone to the Response vehicle and to SAPS in Oranjezicht & Higgovale and it may be advisable to inform any other OHW vehicle on patrol. The precise position of the member or the member’s vehicle must be given to the Response vehicle and all members on patrol should ensure that they are aware of their precise location at all times.
• OHW members shall follow any instructions from the response vehicle as to whether to follow the suspects or maintain observation. No physical interference can be directed by SAPS.
• OHW members shall withdraw from any scene or incident forthwith upon any violence being used or threatened and shall not confront the perpetrators.
• NOTHING herein contained shall restrict the rights of any member as an individual to defend him or herself using reasonable force so to do if faced with a situation where the member or any other person on duty with such member is subjected to actual or reasonably anticipated violence.
• Any incident shall forthwith be recorded briefly in writing with detail of time; place; number of suspects or perpetrators; description of perpetrators by age, size and colour and clothing followed by a brief description of the incident.
• The detail of the incident must be formally recorded on the form referred to above. If a member of OHW discharges any firearm such further forms as required by SAPS must be completed.
• No member of OHW shall release any statement to any media on any matters concerning OHW unless the Crime Prevention Officer has agreed the content of any statement. If approval is not given within seven days of submitting the proposed statement the member is at liberty to release such statement.
• Members of OHW may place such information as they chose on the OHW website subject to compliance with the OHW constitution.
9. Working with SAPS:
• SAPS shall be obliged whenever possible to provide members, reservists or assist to arrange for members from other law enforcement agencies to supervise OHW when patrols are undertaken.
• The Department of Community Safety will decide on approval of all project-funding applications for OHW as submitted by the Community Police Forum (CPF).
• OHW and SAPS must share information on matters pertaining to crime prevention and the apprehension of criminals.
• SAPS and CPF must assist each other in the publicity campaign for OHW.