It’s 9.30 PM on a Friday night at the busy Jeffreys Bay Police Station. Already there are reports of fights breaking out near the taverns in Ocean View and three different reports have been received about a gunshot being heard in Wavecrest.
A vehicle that is suspected of carrying drugs needs to be monitored on the N2 and a joint operation between the various Police units like the sector managers, crime prevention, the Community Police Forum (CPF) and the Neighbourhood Watches needs to be coordinated.
Just one person is in charge of all these activities and she is handling them all in her stride. Meet Captain Botes, the head of the elite Crime Prevention Unit at the Jeffreys Bay Police Station.
Annemarie is at the core a police woman from the old school. Totally dedicated to the eradication of crime from her town and putting dangerous criminals behind bars, a Friday night spend working until 3AM is not unusual for her. Yet many times an “all nighter” comes on top of a full day working at the Police Station where Botes, as the second in command, often relieves the Station Commissioner in his absence.
Planning special operations to combat the latest priority crime in Jeffreys Bay and marshalling the available resources to thwart those with evil intent in the town is one of the many tasks the composed Botes handles far from the eye of the residents of Jeffreys Bay.
Proving her commitment to the town, Captain Botes has recently been elected to run the Trauma Center which provides support for those who have been exposed to violent crime like rape, domestic beating and child abuse.
This appointment she must manage in her extremely limited private time yet helping victims of crime is just as important to her as catching those responsible for committing the crime.
“There needs to be a close working relationship between the Police and the Trauma Center and that’s why I decided to become involved”, said Botes. “Women and children bear the brunt of domestic violence and have to be supported when in dire need”.
Captain Botes has been in the Police Service for 30 years with the past 8 years being spent in Jeffreys Bay. She originally hails from the Free State but has found that Jeffreys Bay has become her home. Botes has three children, all girls with the eldest being 21 years and works with children; the middle one is 19 and studies Graphic Design. Her youngest daughter is still a student at Nico Malan. Botes jokes that her grey hairs have been caused by teaching her daughters to drive and not from the criminals she puts behind bars.
When asked what has changed in Jeffreys Bay since her arrival, Botes noted that the level of cooperation between the public and the Police is certainly improving. “The Neighbourhood Watches and the CPF are becoming very involved in helping the Police combat crime in the town”, said Botes.
“We as the Police are very grateful for this commitment from the public and it helps us when we have 30 to 40 members of the public join us for operations.”
Jeffreys Bay residents can be assured of one thing. We can all sleep more securely at night because of policemen and women like Captain Botes.