Cele confident new team will minimise serious crimes

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pretoria - Police National Commissioner Bheki Cele is confident that the new Tactical Response Team (TRT) will play a critical role in minimising serious crime situations.

"I have constantly expressed my ambitions to having higher and more permanent interventions on the ground to deal with the more serious criminal situations and these aspirations are bearing fruit.

"Today you have witnessed the graduation of the Durban and Johannesburg teams and I have the pleasure to further capacitate them sustainably with specialised equipment," said Cele at the graduation ceremony on Friday.

These teams, with a minimum of 50 members per cluster responsible for between five to seven police stations, are being capacitated with knowledge, skills, and specialised equipment to effectively deal with medium to high risk crime demands.

The primary function of the team, which was firstly piloted in the Pretoria Central Cluster, will be crime combating and focussing on addressing crime through well planned intelligence driven operations.

The teams will further be responsible for restoring public order or crowd management, escort dangerous criminals, providing tactical assistance to other units within the cluster, policing of sporting events and support during disaster and incident management.

Last month, at the launch of the TRT, Cele pledged that more teams will be trained, initially for the greater Metropolitan areas - Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban before the end of December.

The TRT will then be rolled out to all other clusters throughout South Africa. At the moment only Durban and Johannesburg teams have been trained and the focus will now be at Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

According to the South African Police Service, the tasks at hand were of a very demanding nature; therefore, a very strict selection process was encouraged.

The intensity of the training was depicted in the number of police that actually pass the training programme. Between 120 and 140 members apply to be in this unit and ultimately only 40 actually make the training.

Nominees must be no older than 40 years, possess physical ability and physical fitness, to be assessed similar to the battery of tests which were generally administered to new recruits and members must be prepared to be deployed within the province and externally.

Thus far, for the three clusters (Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg) 120 (40 per cluster) have successfully completed the training programme and were being deployed.