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SAPS procure new drones for anti-crime and monitoring operations

Jun 19, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

To tackle the crime issue in rural areas, the police have turned to technology for the answers.

Police minister Bheki Cele has responded to a parliamentary Q&A, saying that 166 drones will be purchased in three phases and start operating in different areas to assist police in saving time and resources.

The high-tech crime-fighting technology will be deployed in three phases across 43 districts and help patrol remote and isolated areas.

While the SAPS has already conducted several pilot programmes in areas such as Johannesburg, this marks the first time that drones will be used countrywide en masse as part of the national policing strategy. Provincial Operational Command Centres and District Operational Command Centres will be used to coordinate the drones.

Private security companies in South Africa have already used drones for anti-crime initiatives for several years, particularly in up-market complexes and estates where it can be difficult to track criminals on the ground.

According to Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications at Fidelity Services Group, there are risks even in secured complexes, which led to using drones in its operations. It is used to scan and survey the areas as there is always a risk of burglaries and theft. Many complexes are now combining electric fences and guarding posts with new technologies like drones.

“We believe drones and the deployment of a mobile drone team not only act as a highly effective visible deterrent to criminals. But also assist to immediately track down and locate criminal elements once an outer perimeter on an estate has been breached, or in any scenario where suspects are at large on a security estate,” Hattingh said. “These high tech innovations definitely represent the future face of security, but as stressed earlier, they work best if they are combined with an integrated security offering.”

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