Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys
For many years South Africa has been experiencing considerably higher levels of crime. For South Africa to stand a chance of turning the tide against this crime wave, meaningful partnerships with other government departments, community members, businesses and crime prevention specialists are essential. There is no way that the SAPS has enough manpower, skills or physical resources to deal with the different types of crime - forming partnerships is the only way to tackle crime in a constructive way.
The SAPS has established collaborative partnerships between the Service and:
- Other government departments and agencies such as:
* Provincial nature conservation agencies and the Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI) of the Department of Environmental Affairs which focus on illegal poaching and other environmental crimes; SARS and the Financial Intelligence Centre;
- non-profit and community groups; and
- private business groups which focus on crime prevention.
This article will highlight some of these existing policing partnerships.
The interaction between law enforcement agencies and the various partners takes place on different levels relating to communication, coordination and collaboration. Participation is critical to enable an effective strategy to combat crime nationally. An example of how businesses engage in partnerships with the SAPS is the Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2) where Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the Private Security Industry (PSI) work hand in glove with the police to prevent crime (refer to the article published on p28 and p29).
The Private Security Industry (PSI)
The PSI is one of the biggest partners to the police. This booming industry is larger than the SAPS and SANDF combined. According to the 2018/2019 Annual Report of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), 534 289 active security officers (employment-linked) were registered with the Authority in 2018/2019.
In 2009, the Security Industry Alliance (SIA) showed its willingness to help government fight crime by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the SAPS. The reason for the MoU, which was facilitated by BACSA, was to ensure that the PSI and the police work together to achieve a common goal of protecting the society (Kole, 2015). Since the private security industry is entrusted with a lot of power and information, proper regulation is essential which is why the Private Security Industry Regulatory Act (PSIRA) 56 of 2001 was enacted. Cooperation between the police and private security takes many forms including crime prevention, information sharing, sharing of resources and operational partnerships. However, it is important to realise that the private security industry is not a replacement for SAPS as the powers of the PSI are not the same as that of the SAPS. At most, its role is to form partnerships with the police or to assist the police in specific circumstances and only after its members have received proper training, including in terms of respecting human rights. The PSI is a vital policing partner which fills the gaps left by the police as they play a growing role in crime prevention and community safety. By sharing information and resources, the police and the PSI can enhance service delivery to the people of the country. (Also refer to Servamus: August 2018 for more information about such partnerships.)
When former President Nelson Mandela asked the private sector to join government in combating crime and the causes of crime in 1996, it resulted in the establishment of the non-profit organisation, Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA). BACSA is currently a division within Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA). The primary driver of the integration of BLSA and BACSA is that BACSA’s strategy is aimed at implementing one of BLSA's strategic focus areas namely combating crime and corruption. In achieving the objective of combating crime and corruption, BACSA’s focus has been to:
- identify tangible initiatives with business and government that will deliver a measurable and sustainable output in support of the efficient and effective functioning of the criminal justice system;
- provide the necessary support to business to ensure that the environment in which it operates becomes safer and more secure; and
- provide a platform for business to constructively engage with government on issues relating to crime and investor concerns (www.bac.org.za).
BACSA has two distinct roles. The first is to facilitate leadership in businesses to ensure that their own house is in order by eliminating crime-enabling processes, systems and approaches and improving crime prevention measures within the control of business. The second is to partner with government, when invited, by sharing expertise, information, processes and technology resident in businesses (https://blsa.org.za/bac).