The South African Police Service (SAPS) has launched the “Country in Blue” campaign aimed at increasing police visibility across the country.
Under the campaign, drone policing will also be introduced in some crime hotspots.
The launch took place on Saturday at the Inanda policing precinct in Durban, an area which over the years has recorded the highest rates of contact crimes, including sexual offences and murder.
Police Minister General Bheki Cele; the Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale; the National Commissioner of SAPS, General Khehla Sitole; Provincial Commissioners; members of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and traditional leaders attended the launch.
The Country in Blue concept will see all security forces, civil society and government agencies working together.
Through this concept, all operational SAPS vehicles on the road will have their emergency warning blue lights switched on from sunset to sunrise (18:00 to 06:00).
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 SAPS members as force-multipliers.
Under the theme, ‘Extending our reach through blue light visibility’, its overall goal is to prevent and combat crimes including gender-based violence and femicide, carjacking, business and residential robberies, and the proliferation of firearms.
Sitole said the Country in Blue concept is one of several crime combatting strategies to maximise police visibility.
“Because we want to be everywhere at all times, 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, such [Inanda].
“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,” Sitole said.
Cele called for better collaboration between communities and the police.
“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,” Cele said.
SAPS continues to call on citizens to take an active part in preventing and combatting crime by naming and shaming criminals within communities.
This information may be brought to the attention of the SAPS through the MySAPS App, which can be downloaded on any smart phone or by calling the Crime Stop number on 0860010111. – SAnews