R1.8 billion allocated to improve police visibility

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The South African government has allocated R1.8 billion for the procurement of police vehicles to improve police visibility in its crime fighting efforts.

Addressing a media briefing in Cape Town, Police Minister General Bheki Cele said R65 million has been allocated to the top 30 crime heavy stations to address murder and other contact crimes.

“Over and above this additional funding, we are responding directly to calls by communities to increase the capability and training of the Tactical Response Teams (TRT). The TRT are being deployed at stations and districts in identified high crime areas,” the Minister said on Tuesday.

He said these highly trained and highly skilled officers will act as force multipliers at local level and assist in policing high-crime areas.

The Minister was presenting the quarterly crime statistics, reflecting on crimes reported and detected by the South African Police Service (SAPS) from 1 January 2023 to 31 March 2023.

“SAPS is also enhancing specialised tracking teams, who will be trained further at provincial and district level to effectively track and apprehend offenders.

“The tracking teams will be instrumental in the success of Operation Shanela, where emphasis is also placed on executing arrest warrants,” the Minister said.

SAPS is also purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to better police from the sky.

“More drone pilots are also being licensed and drone pilot interns are being recruited. Body-worn cameras, as well as shot spotters in high-density crime areas, are being prioritised,” Cele said.

Contact crimes

When it comes to contact crimes, 206 more counts of murder were recorded; sexual offences decreased by 594 cases; attempted murder increased by 475; assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm increased by 98; common assault increased by 3 480; common robbery increased by 957, and robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 1 677.

Murder increased countrywide by 3.4% between January and March 2023.

The Minister said 6 289 people were killed with either a firearm, knife, sharp and blunt instruments, stone and even bare hands, between January and March this year.

“The majority of the killings took place in the KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng provinces, with arguments, vigilantism and robberies topping the motive list for murder.

“KwaZulu-Natal also reported the highest figures of multiple-murder cases, followed by the Eastern Cape with 206 cases and 155 victims, respectively.

“The Free State, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces recorded decreases in murder figures, with both the Western Cape and Northern Cape reporting a double digit decrease in murder cases,” the Minister said.

Cele said while more work still needs to be done to combat contact crime, the drop in murder figures in some provinces is welcomed.

“These crime figures also show that the Western Cape is turning the corner on contact crime cases,” he said.

Overall, contact crimes increased by 6 299 cases.