Police launch festive season crime-prevention campaign

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Police on Friday launched the National Festive Season Crime-Fighting campaign.

Operation Duty Calls will see police mounting operations countrywide until January 2010, focusing on visible policing at taxi ranks, Metrorail stations and conducting operations on illegal firearms, armed robberies, cash-in-transit and shopping centres.

Police will also increase high visibility patrols at all tourist destinations especially along the coastal cities.

Five provinces have been identified as key focus areas to roll out the campaign, including the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.

The Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Minister Fikile Mbalula and National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele launched the campaign on Friday, warning criminals who were intending to torment South Africans during this festive season that they would be met with the harshest action from police.

"The festive season is after all, a joyful period that must be enjoyed by all in our societies. The only people who should not enjoy this period are the heartless criminals as they should be rotting in jail," said Mthethwa.

He said that was why government had formulated a new approach that was not sympathetic to criminals.

National Police Commissioner Cele stated that informed by previous experiences, during the festive season various types of crimes escalate, ranging from alcohol, drug abuse to serious and violent crimes.

"This campaign centres around a five pillar approach focusing on aggravated robberies, border security, firearm, enforcement of the Liquor and Second Hand Goods Acts, by-law enforcement as well as crime against women and children," Commissioner Cele said.

Deputy Minister Fikile Mbalula said it was the responsibility of the police to ensure the streets, homes and the innocent people are kept safe.

To coincide with the launch, the three officially opened the Western Cape Provincial Command Centre. This centre will involve command and control of police work and proper management of information from the different components of the police.

"The approach of working in silos will be a thing of the past as we will create synergy and ensure that information is optimally utilised. We believe it will go a long way in yielding considerable success in the fight against crime, both provincially and nationally," said the minister.

Through this centre, police will be able to track criminal activities at key prime spots such as taxi ranks and malls through advanced high-tech systems. The centre will enable a more proactive and reactive responses by intelligence for prioritized crime, especially in the Western Cape where narcotics is still a major problem.

"We know that crime affects all of us, young and old, black and white, men and women, that is why we all need to act decisively against criminals who torment our society," the minister said.

"What this means is that, all of us as patriots towards South Africa, have our work cut out, this is a duty to take action against criminals who harass, steal and kill from the poor as well as the rich," he said.