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Community Safety Forums (CSF.s) are meant to facilitate the delivery of a multi-sectoral governmental approach on safety in the community. Its approach is broader than that of the Community Police Forum (CPF) in that it includes the responses from all the departments in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster. The CSF is distinguished from the CPF through its tasks. The CPF, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act, is meant to provide a partnership to SAPS in liaising with the community in fighting crime. While the CPF is confined to a police station precinct and focuses very narrowly on policing and associated matters, a CSF will have a more inclusive jurisdiction area as it is intended to fulfill a very different and broader role.
A CSF is meant to bridge safety issues affecting a particular community and harnesses the energies of most, if not all the department in the JCPS cluster. It includes any safety matters within a community that makes people unsafe in their streets, homes and places of work. A CSF was originally designed to deal with those matters traditional policing could not and does not deal with. This could be anything from clearing a bush that people are robbed in to street lighting in areas where there are regular accidents. Departments involved in the JCPS cluster are integrally involved in providing safety and security through a range of services to the community. The departments of Police, Justice and Constitutional Development, Correctional Services, Defense, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Home Affairs, Social Development, as well as other relevant Social Cluster Departments, have a role to play within the CSF.