Women top cops ensure SWC success
Cape Town - Women commanders in the Western Cape played a significant role in the success of the World Cup, the province's police service said on Thursday.
Brigadier Sharon Govender, station commissioner for Paarl said out of the 40 venues in the province that were policed during the tournament, 26 were lead by women commanders.
The stadium, fan mile, the Waterfront and team based hotels were all headed up by female commanders, she told media at a press briefing.
Govender was the head of FIFA safety and security during the tournament.
"As women commanders we do have the edge in the sense of having the softer side to policing," said Govender.
"...We (women commanders) did not compromise any of the standards, we looked at security, we went in with much urgency, we were decisive and the leadership prevailed."
There were no serious incidents during the world cup but contingency plans were put in place as a back up, said Govender.
It was because of these contingency plans that the SA Police were able to swiftly take over when security guards at the stadium had gone on strike.
Colonel Denise Beukes, head of police discipline management, who was the commander for 'mag and bag' operation (magnetic detector and searching of bags) said if it was not for police and the women commanders the match between Italy and Paraguay would have been cancelled.
"Our women commanders are versatile, you can put them anywhere," she said.
The thousands of people who were arriving for the match were oblivious to what had happened, she said.
Govender said the leadership of the province and provincial commissioner Mzwandile Petros had given women a chance to lead.
General Petros put his belief and confidence in the women commanders, she said.
August was women's month and female police officers were being acknowledged for their work.