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Surveillance tech yields results for SAPS

Police minister Bheki Cele. (Photograph by GCIS)
Police minister Bheki Cele. (Photograph by GCIS)

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is witnessing improvements in the use of technology-driven interventions to crack down on crime.

Police minister Bheki Cele yesterday briefed media on the policing tech success in the fight against crime. He said police are using this type of tech to curb kidnapping, cash-in-transit and other organised crime.

According to Cele, the use of the interception technology was passed by Parliament after SAPS approached the legislative body of government to have such processes approved.

“You’ll remember that Parliament of late has agreed and allowed the police to use some equipment of interception…this technology is helping a lot.”

Cele said he would not go into the specifics, only stating this is “good technology”

In May, SAPS was given the go-ahead to intercept cellular communications for mass-surveillance purposes.

This, afterjustice minister Ronald Lamola gazetted a five-year “certificate of exemption”, under RICA. The exemption grants the police the right to own what may otherwise be illegal devices intended for surveillance, such as keystroke recorders that attach to computers, as well as laser microphones and tiny video cameras.

Cele also noted SAPS is prioritising the use of drones to crack down on crime in some of the country’s hotspots, saying the police service has 13 drone pilots.

Some of these pilots have already been deployed to Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, where the police service is using drones rather than having boots on the ground, he revealed.

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