The South African Police Service (SAPS) has launched a new crime-fighting initiative to strengthen its efforts in the fight against crime in the cities.
The Integrated Safer Cities Concept is a first of its kind to be implemented in any city in South Africa.
The National Safer City Concept is also being piloted in other identified cities and aims to see law enforcement agencies integrating and maximizing on technology to fight crime more effectively.
This platform sees the introduction of the first of its kind fusion centre. Its purpose is to maintain and establish a platform for information sharing through a collaborative approach amongst stakeholders through evidence-led information.
In addition, this aims to provide an improved response to coordinated planning to deal with any eventuality.
Utilising state of the art technology, the fusion centre allows for integration of stakeholders from various disciplines, systems and software, coupled with extensive research and development.
The integrated approach forms part of the national crime prevention strategy that seeks to present a model for safety planning through an integration of resources both from all stakeholders involved including SAPS as the lead department, local and metropolitan municipality safety departments, registered private security companies and community safety structures led by Community Policing Forums.
This concept not only focuses on the inner city and suburbs of cities but also in the townships and in rural communities through the Rural Safety Strategy, the Traditional Crime Prevention Programme with the introduction of community-based mounted police as well as the upcoming Royal Reserve Police.
The launch of this ground-breaking programme was officiated by the Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale in Inanda, Durban.
According to crime statistics, Inanda recorded a high rate of reported cases of sexual offences.
The launch of the programme in an area such as this one seeks to arrest the alarming levels of crime through collaboration with key stakeholders.
“A safe city is where a young woman can walk alone at night, without fear of being harassed, violated or harmed in any way. This is the goal that this administration is working tirelessly towards achieving.
“Alongside our efforts to decrease violent crimes, at least by half in the next decade,” said Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale.
The Safer City initiative has been prioritised as one of the critical government interventions that will contribute extensively towards the economic growth of the country.
It is one of the post-COVID 19-crime prevention approaches with the aim of creating a crime-free city or district and at large a country free of crime and violence.
“Local government sphere is pinnacle where development and innovation take place. People aspirations for a better life is centred on the concept of local government.
“This sphere of government can optimally disburse its resources to its intended beneficiaries when the rule of law is upheld. For this concept to function, all responsible government departments need to actively participate in its operations, by providing and distributing resources for its survival. The provision of safety and security in cities is one of the catalysts for their survival,” said the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Khehla Sitole.
MEC of Transport , Community Safety and Liaison in KZN, Bheki Ntuli, said the success of the centre lies with the stakeholders involved.
“Each official has a stake in the development and exchange of information and intelligence and should act as an ambassador to support and further this initiative. It is our responsibility to implement and adhere to the Fusion Centre Guidelines.
“The guidelines are a milestone in achieving a unified force among all levels of law enforcement agencies. Fusion centre brings all the relevant partners together to maximize the ability to prevent and respond to terrorism and criminal acts.
“By embracing this concept, these entities will be able to effectively and efficiently safeguard our communities and maximize anti-crime effort,” Ntuli said on behalf of the KZN government.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said in preparation for this programme the City launched community safety forums and local drug action committees whose core mandate is to build trust and strengthen relations between communities and law enforcement agencies.
“Our aim is to ensure safety in our communities in order to attract investments. It would be extremely difficult to attract tourists in an area like Inanda if it remains a hotspot for serious crimes such as sexual offences and murders,” he said.
The South African Police Service hopes that the existence of the centre will grant all key stakeholders an opportunity to come together with a common purpose in maximizing and improving the ability to safeguard communities and prevent criminal activity in cities.