The South African Police service has budgeted R1.3 billion to safeguard this June’s Confederation Cup and 2010’s Soccer World Cup.
Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo says of this some R660 million is being used to pay for new equipment – some delivered – and R640 million for deployment.
The equipment acquisition list includes six Robinson R44 Raven II light helicopters (two delivered), 1 Israeli water cannon, mobile command vehicles, 300 mobile cameras, 54 BMW patrol vehicles and French body armour.
The police are still mulling the acquisition of about 10 unmanned aerial systems.
Naidoo says the BMWs, of which 10 have been delivered, are to be used for city-to-city route security.
He separately told BuaNews the vehicle mounted water cannon can take digital video recordings of crowds. It also has the ability to introduce dye or teargas into the water stream. The dye is removal resistant and takes about three days to wash off skin, thereby giving “police time to find and arrest any persons marked with the dye”.
The water cannons will be distributed one per host city. The mobile cameras “are just that” adds Naidoo. They will be deployed as the need arises.
Other highly advanced technologies procured include a R2.7 million bomb disposal robot and bomb disposal suits that cost R400 000 per suit, BuaNews says.
The state news agency adds that the police intend dedicating 50 000 people to the World Cup, comprising 31 000 fulltime police, 10 000 reservists and 9000 military personnel as well as traffic police. Of the 41 000 police, 9000 will be public order troops schooled in crowd management.
Naidoo says the police will have reached its planned-for force level of 193 000 permanent officers and 100 000 reservists by June 2010, when the Soccer World Cup kicks off.
The police have in the last five years recruited 55 000 new officers, the last of which will complete their training in late 2009. They have recruited 40 000 reservists in the same period.
Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, authors of the 2005 book Freakonomics, found that increasing the number of police on patrol did impact on crime. In the case of New York it decreased the crime rate with 10%.
Locking up more people accounted for roughly one third of the drop in crime in New York in the 1990s. Gun control also helped. However, the biggest single factor – the one none of the experts cited – was legalised abortion. By contrast, the death penalty seemed ineffectual.
Meanwhile, The Citizen newspaper says the country`s airports are also honing their security plans.
OR Tambo International Airport last weekend held a full scale emergency exercise called “Operation Thebe” designed to “test and evaluate the readiness levels and operational capabilities of various role players under realistic conditions.”
The paper says international airports are expected to conduct such emergency simulations every two years.
The emergency scenario involved the hijacking of an international South African Airways (SAA) flight by an extremist pressure group. “During the simulation, the seriousness and complexity of the scenario was escalated to provide new challenges for participants.”
“Assessors who observed the actions and reactions of participants are expected to produce a post report indicating the areas in need of improvement.
The operation involved SAA staff, the police, the Ekurhuleni Emergency Services, the Customs division of the SA revenue Service, the Department of Health Emergency Disaster Management and Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality Disaster Management.