SAPS now to keep blue lights on to help prevent crime

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With the country holding world-leader status in various crimes, the South African Police Service (SAPS) launched the Country in Blue operational concept to heighten police visibility across the country.

The launch took place on Saturday, 25 September 2021, at the Inanda policing precinct in Durban. This is an area that has recorded the highest rates of contact crimes such as sexual offences and murder over the years.

At the launch, Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, the Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale and the National Commissioner of SAPS, General Khehla Sitole and Provincial Commissioners. Other key stakeholders in the fight against crime, such as members of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and Traditional leaders, were also in attendance.

According to the SAPS, the Country in Blue strategy espouses an integrated and collaborative approach, working closely with all security forces, civil society and government agencies.

Through this concept, all operational SAPS vehicles on the road will have their emergency warning blue lights switched on from sunset to sunrise (6 pm to 6 am).

Additional operational vehicles will also be marked in a bid to ensure that police presence is enhanced.

The concept further aims to deter all forms of criminality and is embedded in the Community Policing Strategy, which mobilises more community patrollers to work closely with members of the SAPS as force multipliers.

SAPS spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe says, “Under the theme, extending our reach through blue light visibility, its overall goal is to prevent and combat a host of crimes which include all 17 community reported crimes; gender-based violence and femicide, aggravated robberies such as carjacking, business and residential robberies commonly known as trio crimes as well as the tracing of wanted suspects and the proliferation of firearms.”

The National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla Sitole, says the Country in Blue Concept is one of several crime-combatting strategies to maximise police visibility.

“Because we want to be everywhere all the time, we are going to introduce drone policing in certain areas to ensure that we are visible. This in a bid to normalise and stabilise problematic areas or hot spots such as this one. Our slogan is squeezing the space for criminals through a declaration of a psychological war, for being everywhere all the time. They won’t have anywhere to go.”

The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, has called for better collaboration between communities and the police. The Police Minister says, “Policing has changed, and this means Police stations are no longer the centre of policing, streets should be centre of policing. More boots and blue lights on the ground not only means police officers are visible at all times to deter criminality but officers should also be quick to respond to the needs of communities.”

The SAPS says it continues to call on people to prevent and combat crime by naming and shaming criminals within communities.

This information may be brought to the attention of the SAPS through the MySAPS App or by calling the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111.

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