Business Leadership SA and Business Against Crime SA (Bacsa) are collaborating with police and the private security industry (PSI) to tackle the anticipated rise in crime over the festive season. The initiative, called Eyes and Ears (E2), is aimed at utilising the PSI’s geographical deployment footprint through its number plate recognition systems and its security officers, patrol and escort vehicles, tactical vehicles and air support, that are in constant contact with its control centres, to enhance the situational awareness of the police.
Bacsa national project manager Fouche Burgers said private security officers were able to relay information about criminal activity to the police’s provincial operational command centres (POCCs). That enabled the police to have “eyes and ears” in areas where they were not present, allowing them to appropriately and rapidly respond to reported incidents and to track suspicious persons and vehicles.
The initiative was launched in 2018 after a successful pilot project in Gauteng, and has since been approved for national roll-out by the police’s national commissioner Khehla Sitole.
It has now been rolled out in the Western Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
Burgers said for the 12-month period ending October 2020, more than 8 000 incidents, mainly in Gauteng and the Western Cape, were handled through E2, which led to more than 500 arrests, 268 vehicle impoundments and 70 firearms being seized.
“Reported incidents include cash-in-transit robberies, business robberies, house robberies, vehicle hijackings, vehicle thefts and thefts at schools.” Burgers said there were 10 298 private security companies registered in the country, with more than 2.4 million registered guards. Chief operating officer at security company Bidvest Protea Coin, Waal de Waal, said through the initiative all security companies’ control rooms in the Western Cape were linked with each other.
“When a security company joins the E2 and there is an incident in its area, it will have the advantage of fast and effective communication to the POCC. This will enable the police and neighbouring security companies in the area to react and assist if and when possible,” said De Waal . Bacsa managing director Tebele Luthuli said the joint use of public and private sector resources was imperative in mitigating the safety risks that came with the festive season.