The Free State police’s effort in the fight against crime has earned it special recognition in seven national catagories, individual and team. The province was presented with national excellence awards at this year’s ceremony held in North West on 27 January. The event acknowledges the police’s hard work countrywide in the fight against crime, as well as in internal departmental duties.The provincial police management celebrated the achievement in Bloemfontein on Friday (03/02), where recipients were honoured for their efforts. Sam Mashinini, the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, together with Lt.Gen. Lebeoana Tsumane, provincial police commissioner, honoured the winners. The six recipients of individual national excellence awards were: Const. Diresh Naidoo of the Vrede police (visible policing employee of the year: level 5 to 7), Sgt André Strauss of Welkom (crime intelligence employee of the year: level 5 to 7), Brig. Jacobus Louw Bonthuys (senior manager of the year: administration), Maj.Gen. Phumzo Gela (senior manager of the year: operational level 13 to 15), Sgt Nikiwe Mokatsanyane (national commissioner’s award) and Capt. Paulinah Ntsoereng (crime intelligence employee of the year: level 8 to 12). The Free State police crime intelligence unit scooped the award of crime intelligence team of the year. Naidoo’s recognition is for, among other things, implementing several social crime prevention projects (such as anti-drug campaigns) and the numbering of houses with reflective paint to speed up police reaction time and make the task of ambulance drivers easier in Vrede. Strauss was rewarded for the great work that led to 31 arrests, the confiscation of drugs and the arrest of a drug kingpin with six accomplices in the Western Cape, leading to the closure of two hydroponic dagga laboratories to the value of R1,65 million.Ntsoereng of Bloemfontein was acknowledged for executing duties that include conducting 163 tactical operations, which saw 245 suspects arrested for various crimes, the recovery of nine illegal firearms, 24 vehicles and two motorcycles, as well as the closure of two drug laboratories. Her effort also led to the seizing of drug manufacturing equipment to the value of millions.Bonthuys received the award for leadership responsibility as the provincial head of the human resources division. He implemented the Training Provision Plan (TPP) programme in Botshabelo, Welkom and Phuthaditjhaba, resulting in the Free State being the only province in the country to have achieved all the targets of the TPP.