As part of their commitment to road safety and making communities safer, short-term insurer OUTsurance has teamed up with the SAPS, Business Against Crime and Beeld in an initiative called the Anti-hijacking Project. Aimed at awarding highly success teams and individual members of anti-hijacking teams, the Project is set to improve morale and motivate participants to greater heights of performance.
2002 SAPS statistics reflected a grim picture: 15 291 hijackings of vehicles were reported countrywide, of which 9054 (62%) took place in Gauteng. In January 2003, during a meeting with Dr Graham Wright of Business Against Crime South Africa and the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of Police, Commissioner Naidoo, the question was raised what could be done to reduce the hijackings in the province by 20%. The result was the Anti-hijacking Project.
By May 2003 Anti-hijacking Task Teams were operational in each of the seven police aeras in Gauteng:
The teams have been suitably staffed and equipped and are currently manned by approximately 250 full-time police members. Their mandate was to reduce the high levels of hijacking in the province, which they have fulfilled exceptionally well. Reported incidents of hijackings in the province have been reduced by 32% over the past year.
In an attempt to recognise this outstanding performance, by both teams and individual members, Provincial Commissioner, Commissioner Naidoo, identified the need for a formal awards and recognition process. Against this background, he requested Business Against Crime to find a sponsor, which is where OUTsurance entered the picture.
The concept works as follows: OUTsurance provides exclusive sponsorship for the Best SAPS Gauteng Anti-hijacking Team member, which will be handed out monthly. The award for the Best SAPS Gauteng Anti-hijacking Team will be handed out on a quarterly basis.
An evaluation committee has been appointed to select the winners according to criteria ranging from the reduction in the number of reported hijackings to the number of firearms confiscated (for teams); from the identification of vehicle crime related syndicates to the number of unscheduled and unremunerated after hours duties performed (for individual members).
The following statistics resulted in the East Rand being appointed as winning team for the period May 2003 to April 2004:
Suspects arrested: 127
Vehicles recovered: 270
Firearms recovered: 40
This has led not only to an increased number of hijacking cases on the court rolls, but to a total reduction of 41% in reported hijacking in the East Rand region.
The winner in the individual category, and also a member of the East Rand Team, is Insp.Soks Sokhela. He received an award certificate and an R1500 shopping voucher from Shoprite Checkers for his outstanding performance on the crime intelligence front, while his commanding officer, Supt Barry Britz, received a R500 shopping voucher. Regarding his work, Insp Sokhela says, “I like crime intelligence, because you are in the background. I’m actually a very shy guy.”
In addition to the basic operations, various special operations have been conducted. This includes improved identification procedures and an increased focus on chop shops and businesses dealing in stolen vehicles, as well as the involvement of the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the sharing of information between all parties.
For a summary of the criteria used to determine the winners, also visit:
Criteria for awards