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National Police Day remembers the sacrifices that the men and women in blue have made and continue to make as they provide safety for all South Africans.
The SAPS continues to applaud those members who give dignity to the uniform and especially honour the bravery of those members whose commitment was met with loss of life.
SAPS and all stakeholders have been celebrating the day since January 2005. On Sunday, all police stations will engage families and friends of police and civilian employees at police stations.
This effort aims to give recognition to members' families for the sacrifices they make as their sons and daughters engage in efforts to curb crime.
It also serves to mobilise communities in a partnership against crime. A week-long programme focusing on the well-being of employees, as well as improving service delivery, will follow Police Day.
The service will reflect on their achievements and what still needs to be done to create safer environments for South Africans. The initiative is driven by the government's aim to reduce serious and violent crime, and in particular contact crimes, by 7 percent to 10 percent a year. Contact crimes are murder, rape, assault and indecent assault, in which there is contact between the perpetrator and the victim.
This week the management forum gave the assurance that they will continue to meet the obligations and responsibilities of the Constitution and the SAPS Act. Policing will continue as members at all levels are encouraged to focus on delivering service and ensuring public safety.
The service gives the assurance that it will enhance policing duties to ensure that the SAPS remains focused on its priorities with renewed vigour.
In a bid to reinforce policing closer to local communities, the implementation of sector policing continues apace, resulting in the prioritising of those police stations with high levels of contact crime. Thus far, sector policing has been implemented at 76percent of these police stations.
Information technology priorities allow the police to be a step ahead of criminals, providing a competitive edge in combating crime. The way in which information on criminals and evidence of crimes is gathered, recorded, analysed and presented has changed dramatically in the past few years. The Hi-Tech Project Centre now provides an improved co-ordinated approach to crime information and the use of available skills and technology.
Improvements in fingerprint technology received special attention so that crime-related fingerprints can be linked quicker to suspects' previous convictions.
The forensic science laboratory is now equipped with devices ensuring the safekeeping of exhibit material and case files, thereby preventing cross-contamination of such evidence.
An automated DNA analysis system has been implemented, making it possible to analyse DNA samples quicker. Satellite capabilities were established at various police stations in rural areas.
In line with the government's programme of action, the SAPS is involved in various activities relating to social crime prevention. A number of stations countrywide have now established victim-friendly facilities.
Last year, 22 936 firearms and 40590 vehicles were recovered in day-to-day operations and 160718 firearms were destroyed.
The commitment to combating organised crime was evident in the past year where 913 cases were taken to court. It led to the arrest of 127 syndicate leaders and 704 members. The commercial branch also arrested a further 7648 persons.
During 2007 the prevention of crime against women and children intensified as the family violence, child protection and sexual offences units made 25942 arrests from the 48949 cases.
To improve the capacity of the police to perform security functions at borders and during 2010, the number of employees will increase from about 165000 members to 193000 by the end of 2009-2010. It will be complemented by the expansion of its vehicle fleet, equipment supplies, technological infrastructure and reservists.
Members are expected to comply with the SAPS code of conduct and ethics. The service will further the implementation of the corruption and fraud prevention plan, which seeks to stop fraud and corruption.
The ACT - Against Crime Together campaign will be strengthened to mobilise the government and civil society to reduce crime. It will mobilise communities to report all crime by anonymously calling the Crime Stop Line at 08600-10111 or its website, www.saps.gov.za.
The SAPS and Prime Media's Crime Line is bearing fruit. After only five months, more than 250 suspects have been arrested.
The recent introduction of SAPS management and performance tool identifies non-performing stations where interventions for better policing need to be undertaken.
SAPS appreciates the contribution of every person in South Africa in supporting its efforts and acknowledges that crime cannot be dealt with effectively by the police alone. Establishing partnerships in the fight against crime and inculcating due respect among our people for the law will make a marked difference in fighting criminals and criminality.
As law-abiding communities forge enduring partnership with the police, life will become more difficult for the criminals.