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City looks to expand its ‘eye in the sky’<p>​The Metro Police Department’s Strategic Surveillance Unit decided to go the aerial route as part of its festive season planning, as it would provide a global view of the many public attractions around the city on priority days over the period.</p><p>The helicopter flights helped to detect and monitor incidents that could be a threat to public safety, and provided an opportunity to document and photograph areas of concern, especially around beach areas and the way it influences vehicular traffic patterns. The video and photographic evidence can be utilised for further analysis, research or further prosecution.</p><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:1010px;" /> </figure><p>​​Apart from relaying information about beaches at capacity and traffic congestion, the staff on board the helicopter also detected and alerted the Metro Police Control Room to a number of incidents, including:</p><ul><li>Motor vehicle accidents</li><li>Broken down motor vehicles on the N2 and other major routes</li><li>A land invasion</li><li>A kite surfer in distress</li><li>Sand on main beach roads</li><li>Vegetation and structural fires</li><li>A capsised rubber duck</li><li>Fighting on the beaches </li></ul><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:2135px;" /> </figure><p>​​‘The department made use of an existing tender to book approximately seventeen hours of flight time over the festive season. The ground they were able to cover and the intelligence they fed back to their control centre made the investment worthwhile, and has given us a new perspective on the possibilities that come from aerial policing. The naysayers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, and that is their right. It is just a pity that so much of the criticism came from a position sans facts.</p></span></span><p>‘This pilot project has also shown us that the use of the helicopter is far more cost-effective than we have assumed. So satisfied are we with the results of this pilot project, that we are in fact considering the feasibility of reintroducing helicopter flights to monitor daily traffic, given the challenge presented by congestion in our morning and afternoon peak periods, as well as crime combatting and prevention in crime hotspots. We are discussing the option of a public-private partnership to make any future aerial policing even more affordable,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith. </p><p>The use of the helicopter complemented the Metro Police Department’s enforcement efforts over the festive season.</p><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:932px;" /> </figure>​​Between 1 December and 4 January, the department recorded the following:</span><ul><li>272 arrests (98 drug-related; 80 drunk driving; 14 firearm related)</li><li>3 firearms, 4 imitation firearms and 31 rounds of ammunition confiscated</li><li>2 742.75 units of drugs confiscated</li><li>10 071 traffic and by-law fines issued</li><li>188 highway patrol incidents responded to</li><li>1 019 CCTV incidents detected</li><li>4 480 vehicles stopped/checked</li><li>1 793 persons searched</li></ul><p>‘Our staff are to be commended for their efforts during the festive season. They put in long hours and were confronted with a range of competing priorities and demands, and persevered. Public safety is a challenging task on any given day, but even more so during our peak holiday periods and the City’s enforcement agencies once again rose to the occasion,’ added Alderman Smith.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2020-01-11T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#78273557-84e5-4b4e-8960-1153e6941255;L0|#078273557-84e5-4b4e-8960-1153e6941255|Metro police;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#b480eb1b-cfa8-45cf-ab3d-21f848f482e9;L0|#0b480eb1b-cfa8-45cf-ab3d-21f848f482e9|safety and security1


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