Crack crook hunters

2011-12-31 00:00

A CRACK police team whose sole focus is to track down the province’s most heinous criminals has been unleashed in KwaZulu-Natal on the eve of the New Year.

KZN Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu yesterday joined provincial Police Commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni to launch the new police “tracking team” in Durban yesterday.

Colonel Jay Naicker said the team was an entirely new concept in the SA Police Service whose only purpose would be to “track, locate and facilitate” the arrests of suspects involved in serious and violent crimes in KZN.

Units like the Hawks and the organised crime unit will continue to carry out their investigations, but will be supported by the tracking unit whose members will not carry dockets and will be freed of administrative work so that they have more time and resources to trace, track and maintain surveillance of wanted criminals

The unit will be headed by the KZN head of detectives, Major-General Mjabuliswa Ngcobo.

A project task team under his command was involved most recently in the arrests of three men who appeared in court yesterday in connection with the murders of a Tongaat couple, Balaram (56) and Maliga Reddy (52), who were shot dead while asleep. Their son, Nivashan (27), was shot in his back and stabbed several times.

Ngcobo’s tracking team consists of 17 highly trained officers who will be relieved of “paperwork and red tape” and will have the freedom of movement, time and resources often so sorely lacking among the country’s overburdened investigators to hunt down criminals sought for serious crimes.

“They will be given details of wanted suspects and all that will be required of them is to trace and arrest these offenders. The training they have received is of a very high standard and we will ensure that they will always have the necessary resources to do the job,” Ngobeni said yesterday.

She was confident that the tracking team would have a significant impact on reducing crime in the province.

“These wanted criminals are generally repeat offenders who commit serious and violent crimes and go underground …”

She said she hoped more arrests would make other criminals think twice before deciding to commit crimes.

Colonel Naicker said the 17 team members were chosen following a stringent selection process and came from various policing backgrounds.

“They underwent specialised training in surveillance, crime detection and tactical response which required peak physical and mental endurance levels …” he said.

The team’s primary source of information on wanted suspects will be the SA police database of outstanding suspects and warrants of arrest issued by courts. Detectives at police stations who have difficulty finding and arresting serious criminals can also turn to the tracking team for help.

Anyone with information about known criminals should call Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or call the toll free number: 080 000 0596.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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