SAPS aiming to improve with new technology and extra manpower

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Minister Bheki Cele’s seemingly continuously under fire SA Police Service (SAPS) is moving funds and personnel to up its efficiency.

This is according to a statement issued post last week’s Cabinet meeting where 14 items are reported on.

The SAPS update is rated number 12 and reads the Service “is enhancing specialised tracking teams, who will be trained further at provincial and district level to effectively track and apprehend offenders”.

National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola’s men and women in blue will have R1.8 billion set aside to procure drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) and vehicles to enhance visibility.

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

Last October Armscor issued a tender on behalf of SAPS seeking RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) trainers in the wake of announcing the acquisition of 168 UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

In addition to spending on new technology, more than R1 billion is allocated for the construction and upgrading of police stations. Additionally, R65 million is allocated to the top 30 “crime intensive” police stations in South Africa for murder and other contact offences.

Cape Town Central‚ Johannesburg Central and Mitchells Plain are the three busiest three police stations‚ in terms of most crime reported. The other seven police stations in the top 10 for overall crime reporting are Honeydew‚ Durban Central‚ Park Road in Bloemfontein‚ Hillbrow‚ Witbank‚ Stellenbosch and Pretoria Central.

The SAPS aims to keep over 179 000 staff in its employ and in the 2022 budget, additional funding of R5.7 billion over the next three years was allocated for recruitment. A total of 10 000 police trainees enlisted in the 2023/24 financial year. A total of 10 000 police trainees will be recruited annually for the next two financial years which will bring a total of 30 000 new police recruits over three years.

Efforts to bolster the SAPS come amid rising crime across a number of categories, although carjacking and truck hijacking decreased slightly. For the first quarter of 2023, murder increased countrywide by 3.4%, with 6 289 people killed with either a firearm, knife, sharp and blunt instruments, stones and even bare hands. The majority of killings were in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng, with arguments, vigilantism and robberies topping the motive list.

For this year’s first quarter, cash-in-transit robberies increased by 20.8%, to 64 incidents. Hijackings saw a 6.5% increase, with 435 cases reported in the same period. A total of 10 512 people were raped in the first three months of 2023.