Keeping crime on the radar

Innovative methods aimed at ensuring that the South African Police Service is a step ahead of criminals are critical to the success of the country's anti-crime campaign.

Innovative methods aimed at ensuring that the South African Police Service is a step ahead of criminals are critical to the success of the country's anti-crime campaign.

Increased sophistication among the country's crime syndicates makes their shenanigans even more difficult to detect - hence the imperative for hi-tech strategies to optimise the police's crime-fighting capacity.

A welcome new addition to the police's anti-crime armoury is a multimillion- rand radio communication centre - believed to be the first in Africa - launched in Midrand, Gauteng, yesterday by President Thabo Mbeki.

The centralised 10111 facility will be manned by call-centre operators who will be able to promptly dispatch police throughout the province. The system, which will soon be rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, is expected to increase police efficiency by improving their response time to crime calls.

Crucial to the success of the system is undoubtedly public cooperation and police attitude. As Mbeki pointed out, police officers need to show more urgency when attending to crimes, and not act as though they are doing the public a favour.

Just as important is the need for the police to ensure the centre is a seamless operation unencumbered by operational inefficiencies that will render it moribund in the end.

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