“I am straightforward, I go by the book and I strongly believe the community is entitled to good and efficient police service. And police visibility is of the utmost importance,” says Hartbeespoort police station’s new commander, Colonel Willem Robbertse.
“It is wonderful to be back in Hartbeespoort, it is a dream come true. When I started my police career as a constable at the then De Wildt police station in 1989, I already said one day I would like to be the station commander at Hartbeespoort. And now, 32 years later, here I am.”
And when he walked into the station commander’s office last week, he got another pleasant surprise… on the wall was a photo of the police officers at the station in 1967, and his father was amongst them. “He started his police career here and would be very proud of me today. It feels like coming a full circle.”
It is not his first time serving in Hartbeespoort. He spent time here in 2015 during which he was offered the post of station commander in Assen near Brits. In fact, Col Robbertse was born and bred in Madibeng. He grew up in Brits and only moved away when he was transferred to Assen. He has worked as a police officer in Brits, Themba, Pretoria North, and then for over three years as station commander in Ventersdorp before he accepted the post of station commander in Hartbeespoort.
“I am very positive about Hartbeespoort and in the few days I have been here, we have already made changes and done good work. My priority is to pull our town together and clean out the crime elements. Since last week we have been closing illegal shebeens and other operations are in action,” he said.
Community relations is another priority. “It is extremely important to work with the community. Together we can achieve so much. Therefore, I want the community to talk to me. If you are unhappy with our police service, let me know. I am a straight talker. If the police did something wrong, I will admit it. If not, I will have a conversation with community members until we reach an amicable agreement. As much as I want Hartbeespoort’s police members on board, I want the community on board.”
Visible policing is another issue he feels strongly about. “You can ask the officers at the station, I chase them out,” he laughs. “The crime is out there, not in the station. If a police vehicle with blue lights drives around the streets at night, a criminal will be hesitant to commit the crime he planned. Visibility is key to fighting crime.”
Working together with other crime prevention organisations is also crucial. “I have arranged a meeting with all the security services and neighbourhood watches in Hartbeespoort in order to take hands in the fight against crime.”
He takes his job as commander very serious. “I want to be up to date at all times about what happens at the station. It is nothing strange for me to walk into the police station at 01:00 in the morning. I am looking forward to my time in Hartbeespoort and working with the people of this beautiful town.” Welcome to Hartbeespoort Col Robbertse!