Pretoria - Policing needs to be strengthened following a series of protests across the country, police national commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Friday.

“The timing of this conference is spot-on as we deal with public protests in the country,” Phiyega told police senior officials responsible for public order policing at a conference in Pretoria.

She also said community intelligence needed to be improved.

“An improved community intelligence is important as we need help to be able to work together with communities.”

She said talking to communities continuously was also important.

“Gone are the days when police did not engage communities. Our engagement with communities in Relela and Venda bore fruit,” she said.

The conference was planned long before the country was engulfed by violent protests, she said. It was to prepare for the upcoming elections.

“This was planned long before Mothutlung, Relela, Tshikani in Venda and Roodepoort happened... but this brings an opportunity to strengthen our policing.”

Capacity to investigate should also be improved, she said.

“The courts are important to assist us in ensuring that justice is dispensed quickly.”

Sapa