Police, farming sector commit to combined rural safety strategy
Cape Town – The establishment of national and local Joint Rural Safety Command Centres has been agreed between the SAPS and the farming sector.
This will lead to the integration of personnel and resources, among others, the use of helicopters and drones.
This comes after a meeting between national police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole, accompanied by senior officers, with Agri SA, TLU SA and AfriForum in Pretoria this morning in an effort to address matters of criminality affecting rural communities.
’’All parties engaged in robust discussions on interventions that of which matters of mutual trust, reservist system, a rural safety summit, cross-border crime affecting the farming community and the economics of policing were highlighted,“ SAPS said in a statement on Monday.
’’The National Commissioner has again reiterated unwavering commitment of the South African Police Service to prioritise crimes in rural areas both proactively and reactively.’’
The Joint Rural Safety Command Centres will be responsible to jointly implement the operational plan of the rural safety strategy, “which will address the issues of mutual trust as well as achieving the ultimate objective of significantly reducing crime in the rural areas’’.
Fighting crimes, including farm attacks, in rural communities through visibility, the meeting further agreed that it is imperative to customise community policing through the establishment of community-based mounted units, the Royal Reserve Police Service as part of the Traditional Policing concept as well as the Tourism Reservists.
There was also emphasis placed on addressing within a task team, the practical challenges with the recruitment and utilisation of reservists to make it more accessible for the farming community.
Sitole further reiterated the SAPS Turnaround Vision: Comprehensive Rural Development, which involves “the combating of stock theft and farm attacks, implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy which focuses on rural safety, infrastructure and a rural safety framework”.
Sitole said: ’’The implementation of stabilisation interventions in hot-spot areas is critical to ensuring an effective proactive approach.
’’Cross-border crime affecting the farming community were discussed and emphasis was placed on resourcing police stations at the border, improving intelligence and the establishment of cross-border liaison committees.
“Crime intelligence will enhance its approach in determining the hot-spot areas through its continued participation in the priority committee meetings all levels of policing as well as the establishment of a Rural Safety Analysis desk.’’
The meeting agreed that an integrated team will urgently address the security concerns in the Tlhakgaming area in North West. among others.
This high-level committee will convene on a quarterly basis to monitor progress of the implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy and decisions taken at previous meetings.