Developing Community Safety Plans. A Guidebook for Provincial and Municipal Officials

Developing Community Safety Plans. A Guidebook for Provincial and Municipal Officials – Learn how


Building safer Communities in South Africa is a complex and challenging task. High levels of youth unemployment and corruption, combined with severe levels of inequality, drug and alcohol abuse, breakdown of family structures, rapid urbanisation, and poor health and educational outcomes, are among the key drivers of increasing levels of violence across the country. Accordingly, broader and more holistic interventions that extend beyond the criminal justice system are required to adequately address underlying risks to safety in our communities. Further, the success of such interventions will depend largely upon the extent to which they are locally owned and committed to by community members. It is for that reason, that the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), with the support of the Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention (VCP) Programme from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s (GIZ) and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service and its provincial secretariats developed a Guidebook to developing Community Safety Plans for Provincial and Municipal Officials on the basis of an extensive municipal capacity building process in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape between 2016-2019.

What is the purpose of this Guidebook?

The purpose of the Guide is to provide provincial and municipal officials with a quick and easy-to-use guide for developing community safety plans. It offers practical guidance on how to perform safety planning in a manner that facilitates community participation, in order to ensure that plans are grounded in a thorough understanding of the risks to safety in a particular community, and that programmes and interventions respond to the specific concerns of people who live there. Although much has been written on the topic of community safety, this Guidebook aims to offer a step-by-step process for developing community safety plans, as well as a concise breakdown of promising practices for municipal and provincial officials to refer to when developing interventions and when implementing community safety activities. Accordingly, in an effort to present information in a simple and accessible format, references to other tools and resources on community safety are made throughout the Guidebook, including South Africa’s overarching national violence prevention policy, the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security.

Who is the guide for?

This Guidebook has been specifically designed for provincial and municipal officials, Community Safety Forums, as well as officials involved in Integrated Development Plans (IDP) processes. Although provincial and local government have different responsibilities when it comes to building safer communities, strengthening capacity within these two spheres of government is critical to bolstering the coordinated functioning of local and provincial government as well as improving the functionality of intergovernmental relations. Although this Guidebook has been designed for provincial and municipal officials, it can be used by any person and/or entity involved in safety planning. For example, politicians responsible for safety related issues, people working for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social service organisations, or other community-based initiatives may find this Guidebook useful when designing safety programmes and/or interventions, or when evaluating the effectiveness of current community safety plans and other violence prevention initiatives.

Content of the Guidebook

The guidebook is divided into five (5) chapters.

Chapter 1 Community safety in South Africa looks at the underlying concepts of community safety, promising practices in violence prevention and the importance of safety planning.

Chapter 2 Governance framework for safety in South Africa provides an overview of the legislation and policy governing community safety in South Africa, including the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security.

Chapter 3 Roles and responsibilities for building safer communities emphasises the roles of the different spheres of government and how they relate to each other in the context of community safety.

Chapter 12 of the NDP which speaks to ‘Building safer communities’ calls for developing integrated approaches to community safety that involve coordinated actions across government departments

Chapter 4 Role of Communities in safety planning highlights the importance of a participatory approach and contemplates challenges and opportunities of facilitating participation as well as rights and duties of different stakeholders.

Chapter 5 Safety planning processes and methods looks at stages of the safety planning process as well as quality criteria for integrating safety plans into IDPs.

The Annex provides further guidelines such as Incorporating Community Safety Plans into Integrated Development Plans as well as minimum standards for Community Safety Plans and various templates.

How should the Guidebook be used?

This Guidebook is a tool for provincial and municipal officials to use when developing community safety plans or when engaging in community safety activities or events such as community safety audits, community dialogues or the integration of safety principles into IDPs. In addition to informing the methodology and approach of community safety plans, this Guidebook can also be used to assess:

(1) the impact and effectiveness of safety planning initiatives;

(2) the extent to which IDPs address issues of safety; and

(3) whether local and provincial government have facilitated meaningful participation by communities in safety planning activities.

Lastly, this Guidebook can also be used as a source of information on available tools, handbooks, manuals and other promising practices to assist people in community safety planning and other violence prevention initiatives.

Developing Community Safety Plans – A Guidebook for Provincial and Municipal Officials is accompanied by Developing Community Safety Plans – A Manual for Facilitators. It offers practical guidance on how to involve community members in each stage of the safety planning process.

For more information

If you'd like to receive more information, please contact:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention for Safer Public Spaces (VCP) Programme

Contact: Terence Smith

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