Men and women in blue were out in full force and the success of their efforts to create a safer environment are evident in the number of arrests made across the province during the Festive Season.
Provincial Police Spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe indicated that their festive safety plan included roadblocks, patrols as well as stop and search and joint operations.
Ngoepe said final figures on the total arrests being made during the Festive Season are not available yet but a total of 117 suspects were arrested during a single operation in Polokwane, Tzaneen and Giyani cluster on 19 December.
He highlighted some of the successes saying that an intelligence-led operation resulted in the arrest of three suspects aged between 23 and 29 years in connection with a burglary at a school in Matlala. During the arrest Police confiscated 16 tablets, a television set, 10 cell phones, 10 tablets, three firearms, two rifles and 406 rounds of live ammunition.
From 14 to 18 December Police arrested 112 suspects in the Giyani cluster on charges ranging from murder, rape, drunken driving, assault to assault, fraud and corruption.
Ngoepe reiterated that two suspects were apprehended after they had allegedly tried to rob three off-duty officers in Louis Trichardt on Christmas Day.
It is alleged that the three officers knocked off and walked to a nearby hitch-hiking spot to catch a lift to their respective homes when two suspects approached them. One of the suspects produced a firearm but the officers were quick to respond causing the suspects to flee, according to Ngoepe. The officers gave chase on foot and apprehended both suspects and confiscated the firearm.
In a separate incident Provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba arrested a person in Zebediela for smoking dagga in public on 28 December.
Ledwaba was visiting stations in the area as part of the ongoing Festive Season operations when he found the suspect smoking dagga next to a liquor outlet. He also met with the liquor outlet owner to warm him not to allow illegal activities on the premises. In another incident Ledwaba also confronted two suspects who were about to smoke dagga in public close to the Police station in Senwabarwana on 22 December. As the two had not yet lit the dagga, they were nevertheless taken to the Police station and warned not to smoke dagga in public.
On the last day of the year Police arrested three suspects believed to be part of a crime syndicate in Namakgale outside Phalaborwa.
Ngoepe indicated that a victim was in his room on the farm when three suspects attacked and assaulted him before robbing him of his belongings, including a shotgun, two televisions and groceries. The stolen goods were allegedly loaded onto the victim’s bakkie before fleeing the scene.
Police were alerted and the bakkie spotted at Namakgale but the suspects sped off. During the chase the driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with a barrier resulting in their arrest.
Among the suspects is one of a group of four who escaped from custody in Polokwane recently and is also connected to a murder case in Ritavi.
Ngoepe said criminals should not think that Police have let down their guard now that the Festive Season has passed as men and women in blue will continue with regular operations across the province.
Story: RC Myburgh