Over 1 500 police officers deployed in KZN for festive season

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More than 1 500 police officers will be deployed in KwaZulu-Natal this festive season. Police top brass say they’ve increased visibility in crime hotspots and entertainment and leisure areas.

KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi conducted a boots-on-ground mission in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. This is to ensure that the operational plans for the festive season are being undertaken effectively.

The men and women in blue are committed to protect the country’s citizens over the holidays. From the streets to malls, the police say they’ve beefed up their footprint across the province. With a focus on known high-risk areas, Lt. Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi believes the operational plan they’ve put in place will be effective. But he has called on people to be more vigilant during this time.

In Pietermaritzburg, which is amongst the areas in the province that recorded the highest reported cases of serious crimes, residents have welcomed the increased security especially in major shopping centres and in the city centre.

“We do a lot of shopping with our kids so it does give us peace of mind and a sense of security, so we are enjoying it and feel much protected because we have been hearing a lot of stories happening in malls and it really put a lot of fear to us, so we feel much safe with them being around,” a resident says.

“We are happy to see police even in the CBD in Pietermaritzburg as well as malls. We want these operations to continue even beyond the festive season so that we will feel safe. It should not happen only during the festive season,” a resident says.

Another resident explains, “We would like to see this police deployment throughout the year. We are happy to see the police then we will have a safe Christmas. But even beyond the holidays, we would like to see the police in Pietermaritzburg because of the crime rate in the area.”

Mkhwanazi cautions against driving under the influence of alcohol.

“The biggest challenge that we have during this time of the year is going to be robberies, theft, shoplifting, fraud, and those types of things, vehicle crime is quite big this time of the year because people consume alcohol a lot, so we focus ourselves in those operation. We try to prevent people from driving under the influence of liquor, that’s why we have a lot of roadblocks in the streets. We trying to prevent people from abusing alcohol.”

Meanwhile, a number of people were arrested at roadblocks across the province for various offences.