Durban police work to ensure a safe festive season

Helicopters, horse patrols, closed-circuit television and police reservists have been roped in to boost security in Durban during the festive season, police said on Thursday.

Durban Central police commander Commissioner Bala Naidoo told a press briefing that detectives and administrative staff will also be walking the beat to ensure high visibility during the festive season.

He said 12 police officers on horses and 12 officers on motorcycles will be deployed in the city centre and beach areas to ensure a rapid response. An additional 10 people have been trained to monitor the CCTV cameras that are placed at strategic points in the city.

The city’s courts will be open on December 17 and 26 to allow police to prosecute offenders speedily.

Also speaking at the press briefing, police Director Aaron Harry said there will be ”multiple roadblocks and searches”, adding: ”The public is going to sometimes feel inconvenienced, but

this will be necessary to ensure security.”

At least 90 police reservists have been deployed and more will be deployed in the coming days.

Drunken and disorderly behaviour will be targeted as well as those people who drink in public. Some of Durban’s known spots for public drinking, such as XL’s near South Beach, will receive attention from police.

Naidoo said there is ”a disturbing trend” towards more drinking in public. ”Drinking in public leads to scuffles and the next thing there is a case of assault.”

He also urged people not to break bottles, which could lead to children being injured.

Naidoo said that during the year since he has taken command at Durban Central, there has been a steady decrease in contact crimes, especially in the city centre. ”What we have been doing is deploying more people and having a high visibility in the city centre.”

However, he urged people to report incidents, no matter how small. ”If they do not report even the small incidents, then we may have the wrong priorities and the wrong target areas. If they [the public] don’t report the cases, then we don’t know what the problems are.”

The South African Air Force has been brought in to assist police with helicopters during the festive season. The police will also be working with the eThekwini metro police, the KwaZulu-Natal road-traffic inspectorate and private security firms.

Durban’s beach area will be closed off to all vehicles apart from residents and hotel guests, leaving the city’s famed Golden Mile free for pedestrians.

Children entering the beach front area will automatically receive a tag with their parents’ phone numbers, so that if they become separated, police will be able to contact their parents.

Harry said that a joint operations committee will meet every day to thrash out problems during the festive season. ”We really want this to be a safe festive season. Don’t spoil it for yourself and for others.”

Naidoo also urged those who are members of stokvels to ask the banks for cheques rather than carry large sums of money around. He warned people, especially the vulnerable and the elderly, against being caught by scam artists who rob people through the threat of black magic and other devious means. — Sapa

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