The SAPS launched the campaign on Sunday, 26 September, at the Inanda policing precinct in Durban. This area was chosen specifically since it has recorded the highest rates of contact crimes. These crimes include sexual offences and murder.
Country in Blue
The concept of Country in Blue is to see all security forces, civil society and government agencies working together. Thus, the campaign’s main idea is that all operational SAPS vehicles will have their emergency warning blue lights switched on from sunset to sunrise (18:00 – 06:00).
The concept further aims to prevent all forms of crime and “is embedded in the Community Policing Strategy”. This mobilised more community patrollers to work closely with SAPS members as force-multipliers.
“Under the theme, ‘Extending our reach through blue light visibility’, its overall goal is to prevent and combat crimes including gender-based violence and femicide, carjacking, business and residential robberies, and the proliferation of firearms.”
All head SAPS members attended the launch
Police Minister General Bheki Cele; the Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale; the National Commissioner of SAPS, General Khehla Sitole; Provincial Commissioners; members of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and traditional leaders all attended the launch.
According to Sitole, the Country in Blue concept is one of several crime-combating strategies.
“Because we want to be everywhere at all times, we are going to introduce drone policing in certain areas to ensure that we are visible. This is a bid to normalise and stabilise problematic areas, such as [Inanda]. Our slogan is squeezing the space for criminals through a declaration of a psychological war, for being everywhere all the time. They won’t have anywhere to go,” Sitole said.
Cele (SAPS minister) also called for better collaboration between the police and communities.
“Policing has changed and this means police stations are no longer the centre of policing – streets should be centre of policing. More boots and blue lights on the ground not only means police officers are visible at all times to deter criminality but officers should also be quick to respond to the needs of communities,” Cele said.
Media Statement: SAPS launches plan to increase police visibility