Cape Town - Additional police have been called in to boost a special new year’s safety operation over the next 72 hours and which will involve some officers being airlifted to and from hot spots.
Target areas will include those affected by gang violence, beaches, stadiums, rural stretches and streets known for clubbing.
A variety of officers, including those from the metro police, are involved.
On Monday, the city said the city’s festive season co-ordinating committee had prepared for “its busiest few days” and had an operational plan in place to deal with this.
It announced that additional staff would be on duty for events, including a free party on the Grand Parade this evening, and staff would also work throughout the night in areas including Camps Bay and Blaauwberg.
To accommodate revellers, a portion of Long Street, between Wale Street and Buitensingel, would be closed from 8pm this evening to 4am on Tuesday.
On Monday, police management announced how they planned to deal with events from Tuesday until Thursday.
Provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer said officers did not plan to ruin any parties or festivities, but would monitor them.
“Go out. Enjoy yourself. Say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new year… But do so responsibly,” he cautioned.
Lamoer said aside from “normal policing”, extra police officers had been called in and “a few thousand” would therefore be working on a shift basis.
Deputy provincial commissioner Peter Jacobs said officers would focus on various areas. “All our special forces will be out.”
Jacobs said about 80 000 people were expected on the Grand Parade this evening and at least 20 000 were expected in the city bowl on Wednesday and on Thursday for the minstrel parades.
He said officers would keep an eye on stadiums used for the parades.
Jacobs said at least 100 000 people were expected daily on beaches around the peninsula.
In a statement, the city urged beachgoers to note where lifeguards were stationed and to swim between flags demarcating where it was safest to do so.
Visitors to the city’s public pools were urged to act in a responsible manner.
Jacobs said the police’s mounted unit would focus on beaches and mountainous areas, the Flying Squad would monitor highways and public order policing would keep an eye on crowds.
He said liquor was “the key fuel” which could determine whether a celebration remained festive and did not spiral out of control, and the police’s firearm and liquor control unit would therefore do “pub crawls” to check whether venues were compliant with the law. Shebeens would also be monitored.
Jacobs said “air support teams” would also be dropped off at areas, where necessary.
He said aside from the city centre and usual party strips, including Long Street, police would focus on Edward Street in Bellville, which was also known as a party venue.
Jacobs said rural areas would be monitored and said problems were picked up where thousands of seasonal farmworkers stayed.
On Monday, some of the police operations started, and in Manenberg scores of officers patrolled the streets as a police helicopter hovered above.
At times, the officers searched residents and one young man, flanked by officers, could be seen being led into the back of a police van.
Many police vehicles and a Nyala could be seen patrolling.
New year hotspots
* Long Street
* Edward Street, Bellville
* Grand Parade