Pretoria: Police will be out in full force during the festive season, ensuring that criminals have no opportunity to ply their trade or hide from the law, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has warned.
Mthethwa officially launched the “Operation Duty Calls” National Festive Season Crime-Fighting campaign in Limpopo on Friday. These operations kicked off in September and will continue until the end of January.
Police needed to be a few steps ahead of criminals this festive season, particularly when it came to planning, the minister said.
As part of the campaign, there will be an increase in high visibility patrols at all tourist destinations, especially along the coastal cities.
“Our approach and operations are focused around aggravated robberies, including house and business robberies, cash-in-transit [heists], as well as ATM bombings. We also focused on social crime-prevention operations dealing with contact crimes like murder, rape and crimes against women, children and the elderly,” he added.
There will also be a concerted focus on alcohol and drug abuse during this period and police will continue with operations aimed at anti-piracy and counterfeit goods, Mthethwa warned.
The Anti-Piracy and Counterfeit Goods campaign was launched last year in partnership with other departments and strategic partners.
“We shall continue during this festive season to focus our operations on dealing with the challenge of the piracy of CDs, DVDs, cigarettes and clothing. These operations will be mounted unannounced and like a lightning that strikes, criminals will feel the heat. We want to curb the increasing volumes of piracy and counterfeit production and illegal sale of CDs, DVDs, cigarettes and clothing across the country,” he said.
Police will further work towards increasing public awareness about safe-guarding children during the festive season and efforts will also be made to strengthen partnerships between the public, law-enforcement agencies and other government departments to ensure a safe and secure environment during the festive season and beyond.
One of the focal areas for police operations will be on rural operations. The minister said that protecting rural areas should not only be intensified during the festive season alone, but it should be an on-going exercise.
“Part of the reason we cannot neglect these areas, as we have observed through crime displacement, some crime syndicates operate in rural areas, harassing and undermining the safety of poor communities. Equally, the increase in incidents of stock theft continued to draw and required our urgent attention,” he added.
Criminals contemplating using rural areas as hide-outs should be aware that police were also in these areas – tactically and forcefully.
The minister stressed that communities also had a role to play, not only during this festive period but on a daily basis.
“We need communities to play an oversight role on police but as we do so, we should not be informed by narrow agendas. We urge you to constructively critique police where they do wrong but equally compliment them where they excel,” he said.