Gauteng's top cop, Perumal Naidoo, wants 2007 to be filled with plenty of "bang bang" - and now he's got 250 brand new cars to help him fight crime.
On Thursday, the action-hungry commissioner attended a handover of the new fleet and vowed that the vehicles would help decrease response times, increase visibility and raise service delivery.
So confident was Naidoo in his R40-million investment, which he dubbed "Operation Bang Bang", that he undertook to host a feedback Press conference in exactly three months' time. In April, he will bring the cars back to the compound and report on how they helped his officers fight crime.
High-performance: Gauteng Police Commissioner Perumal Naidoo with a fleet of 250 new cars acquired by the South African Police Service. Photo: Alon Skuy, The Star
The province currently has about 6 000 cars and the latest injection is going to be split between the specialised dog units, crime combating units and the flying squads.
Of the 250 high-performance Fords and Isuzu 4x4s, 80 will go to Tshwane, 60 to Ekurhuleni and 60 to Joburg. The rest will be given to various Flying Squads.
The cars are the "best, most modern and safest vehicles we can give to the units", boasted Director Leon Kruger, Gauteng's head of logistics.
Thursday's event, held at the police's new vehicle pound near Nasrec, was attended by the province's station commissioners and top brass.
An official handover of keys was held among the shiny new cars.
"I want to see 2007 as a year of action. A year of bang bang and bags and bags of results," Naidoo charged. "There is no place for groaners and moaners; we need movers and shakers."
Naidoo said the fleet would also help to restore the communities' faith in the police.
"These vehicles belong to the community. We are not their masters, we are their servants.
"These much-needed resources must be treasured," he said.
The commissioner stressed that the cars have been allocated to specialised units and must not be abused. Station commissioners would be responsible for their upkeep.
"I know the cars will make a difference and will lower crime," he said. "We must do something very serious to reduce crime levels."
Naidoo said the year ahead would not be an easy one, and would be filled with challenges. But, he said, his officers would meet these challenges without fear of failure and with a no-nonsense approach.
The money spent on the cars came out of the police budget and the 4x4s cost between R180 000 and R250 000 each, Kruger said. The police service does not insure its cars and any damage will have to be dealt with internally. The bakkies will also help officers chase criminals through informal settlements and tough terrain.
Answering as to whether special precautions would be taken to ensure that the cars were not abused, Naidoo invited the public to report any suspicious use of the vehicles. In the past, officers have come under fire for using State cars to do grocery shopping and give lifts to family and friends.
Naidoo said offenders would be disciplined.
He again called for communities to help police combat crime.
- This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on January 05, 2007