Women cops of the world march into Durban for conference

2013-09-23 00:00

THE world was facing an important struggle, that of trying to end violence against women. But it was up to gatherings like these to bring about the change, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told delegates when he opened the 51st International Association of Women Police (IAWP) in Durban yesterday.

Women police officers from different countries packed the Durban City Hall for the event yesterday.

Clad in their respective uniforms, the group first marched from Centrum Park to the city hall, led by Mthethwa and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega. They were greeted by enthusiastic residents, waving and ululating.

It is the first time in 51 years that the conference has been held in Africa. About 1 300 local and foreign delegates are attending this week’s event, which ends on Thursday.

Addressing the delegates, Mthethwa said the world is facing an important struggle, which is to end violence against women.

He added that violence against women was a critical part of the historic effort to change the power relations in society. The association has an important role to play in this regard, he said.

The minister said it was crucial that law enforcement should keep up with crime syndicates that become more sophisticated. They needed to upgrade their ability to monitor and analyse information, he commented.

The conference should help empower women, he said. “Women officers and civilian employees function as champions for campaigns, for instance, on social crime-prevention programmes aimed at reducing contact crimes.”

Jane Townsley, president of IAWP, on behalf of the delegates extended their prayers to the ailing former president Nelson Mandela and praised the city for its zest for life, colour and diversity.

Over the next few days, the officers will be exposed to extensive training on forensics, crime combating tactics and tuition by international experts on a range of different topics.

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