ON THURSDAY 31 October the National Commissioner of police, Lt Gen Khehla Sithole, signed an agreement with the Managing Director of Business Against Crime South Africa, Ms Tebele Luthuli to deploy the Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2) nationally.
The Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2) is an ofﬁcial joint crime ﬁghting initiative between the South African Police Service (SAPS), Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the Private Security Industry (PSI). The PSI formally cooperates with the SAPS by sharing incident (or situational) information directly to the Provincial Operational Command Centre (POCC) and in some instances, receiving such relevant information directly from the POCC.
The PSI’s large geographical deployment footprint through its security ofﬁcers, patrol and escort vehicles, tactical vehicles and air support provides excellent opportunity to fulﬁl this task. In many cases, the PSI guards are on crime scenes before the SAPS.
The PSI, through BACSA, has at least one representative on a 24/7 basis in the POCC that manages the sharing of information with SAPS and form SAPS with the PSI. A pilot project was implemented with great success in Gauteng in May 2018.
Although the project only started to get momentum during November 2018 after the National Commissioner signed agreement with BACSA, more than 50 security companies, representing more than +15 000 security guards, joined the pilot.
During this period, 2 662 incidents were handled by the E2 office that, to mention only a few successes, included the valuation and actioning of more than: 1. 1500 LPR (licence plate recognition) alerts; 2. 950 alerts of crimes in progress from the PSI; and 3. 100 alerts and requests for assistance from the SAPS. This directly led to: 1. 697 arrests; 2. 28 assault riﬂes seized; 3. 93 other ﬁrearms seized; 4. 146 stolen and hijacked vehicles recovered, conservatively valued at R29 million; 5. 80 vehicles impounded for other serious crimes; and 6. numerous crimes been stopped.
Speciﬁc crime scenes related to well published crimes, were handled by the initiative. In the double cash-in-transit heist on Atlas Road on the morning of Friday 17 May 2018, a security guard was on scene ﬁrst and provided on-site guidance which assisted in the arrest of four suspects the same afternoon at George Gogh hostel. The security guard was not employed by the cash transporting company but was linked to the E2 network. When a colleague is in distress, the name on the vehicle becomes irrelevant. During October 2019, a non-feepaying school was robbed. The call came through to the E2 ofﬁce while it is happening.
The ﬁrst assistance on the scene came from a E2 participant that is not employed by the school. This led to arrest of one suspect. With the approval from the National Commissioner in place, the implementation of the E2 initiative in the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape is planned to take place within the ﬁrst 4 months of 2020.
The four provinces will already represent well more than half the population. It is known that crime moves to the areas with least resistance, thus it is imperative that the country be provided with the same crime prevention functions from border to border.
Therefore, the rest of the provinces will follow soon. BACSA is of the opinion that the E2 initiative has the potential to become one of the biggest public private partnership of the country and will make a sizeable difference in the ﬁght against crime. BACSA has invited all qualifying security companies to join this initiative by signing up here: https://e2.bac.org.za/