Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) and its subdivision, Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA), has collaborated with SAPS and the Private Security Industry (PSI) on a joint initiative called the Eyes & Ears Initiative (E2). The initiative aims to tackle the festive season’s increased crime rate.
E2 utilises PSI’s large geographical deployment footprint through its number plate recognition systems, security officers, patrol and escort vehicles, tactical vehicles and air support that is in constant contact with its control centres to enhance the situational awareness of the SAPS.
“Private security officers are able to relay information about criminal activity to the SAPS Provincial Operational Command Centre,” says Fouche Burgers, BACSA national project manager. “This enables the SAPS to have eyes and ears in areas beyond its presence thereby allowing police to appropriately and rapidly respond to reported incidents and to track suspicious persons and vehicles.”
The E2 Initiative was launched in 2018 after a successful pilot in Gauteng and has since been approved for national roll out by SAPS’ National Commissioner, Lt. Gen. Khehla Sithole. It has now been implemented in Gauteng, Limpopo, KZN, Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.
For the 12-month period ending October 2020, more than 8 000 incidents, mainly in Gauteng and Western Cape, where handled through E2 which led to more than 500 arrests, 268 vehicle impoundments and 70 firearms seized. Reported incidents include Cash in Transit (CIT) robberies, business robberies, house robberies, vehicle hijackings, vehicle thefts, thefts at schools etc.
“E2 has been able to achieve this mean feat with only 140 PSI security companies participating,” notes Fouche. “There are currently 10 298 private security companies registered in South Africa with more than 2.40 million registered guards. E2 can significantly increase its success rate in removing criminals from our streets if more of these companies joined the initiative. We invite them to join the E2 Initiative and also call on citizens who use the services of private security companies to encourage them to be part the joint effort against fighting crime, saving lives and protecting businesses.”
South Africa experiences a sharp increase in crime during the festive season. This is attributed to the remarkable increase of cash volumes which leads to armed robberies, burglaries and CIT heists. Alcohol abuse and consumption of recreational drugs also contributes to the spate of violent crimes during this season.
The Managing Director of BACSA, Tebele Luthuli says “the collaboration of public and private sector resources is therefore imperative in mitigating the safety risks that come with the festive season. The roll out of the year end edition of the E2 Initiative supports the SAPS’ Safer Festive Season Operation which was launched at the end of October. We are confident it will intensify efforts towards a safer South Africa during the holiday season and beyond.”