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THIS year’s theme, “Together squeezing crime to zero tolerance”, “marks the beginning of the new era in South Africa where criminals will not have a space and the time has come for SAPS [South African Police Service] to show what it stands for”.

Ever vigilant, the police plan to 'squeeze crime to zero tolerance'Ever vigilant, the police plan to 'squeeze crime to zero tolerance'This was the promise made by the national police commissioner, Bheki Cele, to a packed Orlando Stadium in Soweto, on National Police Day on Friday, 28 January. The event was also attended by Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Police Minister Margaret Sotyu and the Gauteng MEC of community safety, Nonhlanhla Mazibuko.
Delivering the keynote address, Cele said: “From today onwards, we are going to embark on a vigorous mission to ensure that we stop criminals in their tracks like we did during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the festive season.

“We have committed men and women in the police force who will ensure that the work gets done in all corners of our country.

“National Police Day also recognises those who lost their lives in the line of duty and also [serves] to motivate police officers to continue serving the country with utmost commitment,” he said. “We are … remembering those heroes and heroines who lost their lives carrying out police work and we are showing our sympathy to their families … We are warning criminals who kill our members that they will be hunted and found.”

Adding to Cele’s sentiments, Mthethwa said the South African Police Service had initiated a number of strategies aimed at reducing the level of crime. Among these was strengthening community policing structures.

“As the police we remain grounded on winning the war against crime and through our crime fighting strategies that we have initiated, we have the potential and the ability to carry out our mandate of eradicating crime, but above all, we have our foot soldiers in the form of community policing forums which must be intensified, because criminals are members of these communities.”

The focus is on winning the war against crime: Minister of Police Nathi MthethwaThe focus is on winning the war against crime: Minister of Police Nathi MthethwaWhile Mthethwa expressed his satisfaction with the police’s performance, he admitted there was still a lot of work ahead in making sure that the police force functioned effectively. “There are a number of irregularities that need to be given attention; for instance, we still need to provide more facilities to our police stations, such as vehicles to enable our officers to respond to calls in time.”
Giving her first official address as the deputy minister of police, Sotyu said the SAPS was working towards a new modernised, efficient and transformed criminal justice system to develop the capacity for fighting and reducing crime.

As a step towards achieving its goals, she said the force would instil discipline. She also warned police officers who took part in criminal activities that they would not be tolerated.

“Recently, we have welcomed approximately 5 000 new recruits into the organisation and in our efforts of ensuring that we attract quality and not merely quantities, we have transformed the manner in which we bring officers into the force,” she said.

The SAPS had also introduced a fitness programme that would ensure that all police officers were fit and ready to perform their jobs, she said. Police officers demonstrated their fitness programmes, performing aerobics. They programme is to be introduced in all police stations.

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