Joburg metro police claims new team can react to crimes within minutes
Johannesburg's metropolitan police department (JMPD) has introduced a specialised unit to deal with crime and it's geared to respond within minutes of an incident being reported.
The city also plans to increase the number of CCTV cameras to help identify criminal activities.
The unit, the intelligent operation centre (IOC), was launched last week and comprises 80 JMPD officers.
"The IOC reaction unit will bolster this crime-combatting technology with a team of dedicated quick-attack metro police officers. These officers will use unmarked and marked patrol vehicles and will be deployed to hotpots identified in areas like Braamfontein, Yeoville, Hillbrow, Doornfontein and other parts of the inner city," said the city.
The initiative was launched by Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba and acting head of the department of public safety David Tembe in Martindale.
"It is also vital that there is a strong relationship between the city, the SA Police Services (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Justice will prevail only if criminals are detained and prosecuted. For too long, the streets of Joburg have been held hostage by muggers, hijackers and other criminals," said Mashaba.
"However, through the reaction unit and the commitment of the JMPD, we have drawn the line clearly," he added.
Following the launch, at least 21 suspects were arrested by the unit within seven days. The criminal activities ranged from smash-and-grabs to vehicle thefts, and from assault to attempted murder, said metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar.
The unit is expected to respond within three minutes, 24/7, to take down criminals.
Plans are in hand to increase the number of CCTV feeds to the IOC and partnerships with several stakeholders in the private sector, wherein privately owned CCTV cameras' feeds will be monitored directly at the IOC.
"The city pledged to unveil more innovative hi-tech projects that will help improve service delivery and ensure our residents are safe. This is planned as we simultaneously grow the reaction unit to 160 officers," said Mashaba.