The police and the farming sector will work hand-in-hand to address “matters of criminality” that are affecting rural communities.
This follows a meeting between the police, Agri-SA, TLU SA and AfriForum in Pretoria on Monday morning. National police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said some of the issues raised in the meeting included the reservist system, a rural safety summit, cross-border crime affecting the farming community and the economics of policing.
It was agreed to formalise the establishment of national and local joint rural safety command centres. Extra personnel and resources, including helicopters and drones, was needed, Naidoo said.
“These centres will be responsible to jointly implement the operational plan of the rural safety strategy which will address the issues of mutual trust as well as achieving the ultimate objective of significantly reducing crime in rural areas,” he said.
Naidoo said it was also decided that it was crucial to customise community policing through the establishment of community-based mounted units, the royal reserve police service as well as the tourism reservists.
“There was also emphasis placed on addressing within a task team the practical challenges with the recruitment and utilisation of reservists to make it more accessible for the farming community.
“Resourcing police stations at the border, improving intelligence and the establishment of cross-border liaison committees were highlighted as key factors to fight cross-border crimes affecting the farming community,” Naidoo said.
National police commissioner Khehla Sitole said it was of utmost importance to implement stabilised interventions in hotspot areas to ensure an “effective proactive approach”.
“Crime intelligence will enhance its approach in determining the hotspots through its continued participation in the priority committee meetings, all levels of policing as well as the establishment of a rural safety analysis desk.” Sitole said it was agreed that an integrated team urgently needed to address the security concerns in the Tlhakgaming area in North West.
“This high-level committee will convene quarterly to monitor progress of the implementation of the rural safety strategy and decisions taken at previous meetings.