11 Dec 2023 | SANews
Police Minister Bheki Cele has assured the nation that it will be all hands on deck by law enforcement officials this festive season, to ensure a safe holiday period in the country.
“The holiday season is a time where criminals sharpen and refine their operations, taking advantage of the festive mood,” Cele said, addressing the media in Pretoria on Sunday on the festive season safety plan by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Cele said the festive season is a period largely characterised by festivities and increased migration of people within and across the borders.
“We as the country’s law enforcement have and will continue to upscale our responses to crime this holiday season and beyond,” Cele said.
Through bold efforts and a decisive policing approach to fighting crime, police operations will continue to ensure that the police get a grip on serious and violent crime in the country.
“In the coming days, the bite of the SAPS will be stronger, as we welcome in the police service’s 10 000 new officers.
“The 2023 Project 10K police recruitment drive is a direct response to the call from His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, to strengthen our policing capacity and enhance police visibility. The SAPS recruitment office successfully processed 600 000 of these applications and embarked on a rigorous recruitment drive.
“We are now in the second phase of enlisting 10 000 police officers, who will be graduating from various police academies throughout the country in the coming week. This means there will be 10 000 more boots on the ground come the 15th of December, when the last passing out parade takes place in Tshwane,” the Minister said.
The police trainees have been stationed at police academies across the country for the past months.
“They have been hard at work in perfecting street survival courses, firearm, law and physical training during their completion of the Basic Police Development Learning Program. We have no doubt, the new members will provide a much needed boost to the current policing numbers and amplify our law enforcing efforts.
“These officers will be deployed to sanitise the streets and increase the footprint of the police in all nine provinces,” Cele said.
Their deployment will be prioritised in high crowd zones and areas of entertainment and leisure this holiday season.
With regard to Operation Shanela, Cele said the men and women in blue are doubling their efforts to tackle and squash the enemy of crime lurking in the streets and in communities.
“Police in all provinces are gaining ground on crime and organised criminality and this has been reflected in our last released crime statistics.
“The chunk of the arrests took place in the provinces of the Western Cape with 64 171 arrested suspects, followed by Gauteng with 48 917 arrests while SAPS in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) arrested a total of 37 769 in the past six months,” he said.
Over 3 200 firearms including 2 500 handguns and 300 rifles have been taken off the streets through Operation Shanela.
“Through Operation Shanela, over 1 717 hijacked or stolen vehicles have been recovered from May to date,” the Minister said.