Police will use 10 hi-tech mobile police units for stadium and fan park surveillance during next year’s Soccer World Cup, each fitted out with state-of-the-art security equipment, including plasma monitors and satellite links.

The first of 10 motorised units, said to be worth millions, arrived in the country last week.

They will be stationed outside stadiums and manned by senior police officers on match days to monitor how many people enter the stadiums, traffic conditions in the area, crime and general surveillance, said Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo, spokesman for the police’s 2010 unit.

He confirmed that police had recently bought the first unit, and would take delivery of three more before next month’s Confederations Cup.

He refused to comment on how the units would be used and how much they cost, but said they would be strategically positioned outside each of the 10 World Cup venues.

“Telling you exactly what the vehicle is capable of, and how we would use it, would be a breach of security,” said Naidoo.

“However, the command unit is very versatile and will ensure quick deployment of police in the event of any incident.

“Police on patrol and on the ground will have 24-hour contact with the commander-in-charge, who will be stationed in the mobile unit.”

The units form part of the police’s R650 million procurement drive for 2010 and beyond, which also includes water cannons, specialised helicopters and bullet-proof vests.

After 2010, the units would be used for crime prevention and for other major events, said Naidoo.

Apart from the mobile command units, police have also bought remote-controlled robots to fight crime during the tournament.

There are eight remote-controlled vehicle-tracking robots in the country, each costing about R2.5m, with another eight expected to be delivered later this year.

The robots, imported from the US, are used to detect and defuse bombs.

Each comes with a 12-gauge shotgun and hi-tech sensors.

Police say the shotgun is used by trained technicians to detonate bombs, and the sensors – which are attached to the weapon – include an explosives sniffer and various chemical and biological detectors.

Naidoo said each province would receive at least one robot for the World Cup.

The police’s explosives unit had a comprehensive security plan for 2010, which had been incorporated into the national 2010 safety strategy, and had been approved by Fifa, said Naidoo.

PUBLICATION: www.iol.co.za (Cape Argus) (Page 4)
AUTHOR: Clayton Barnes
DATED: 5th May 2009