The war on crime in South Africa has never been easy. It takes a special kind of person to be willing to put oneself in harm’s way for the protection of total strangers. Our tactical officers must sometimes make split-second, life-or-death decisions, in unimaginably stressful situations and with much more to think about than just their own self-preservation instincts. And with the knowledge that whatever they do, they’ll be judged after the fact by others who weren’t even there.

Among the many challenges of 2021, crime is once again under the microscope following a series of high-profile incidents that have prompted a nationwide reckoning on issues of reform within law enforcement and the private security industry. These are difficult and complex issues to be sure, with the public’s trust hanging in the balance. The war on crime is South Africa has never been easy.

But Vision Tactical does not shy away from these important conversations. Our officers and command staff are committed to continuous improvement and open-minded to better ways of doing things. They are willing partners with the community in working together toward positive change. When a resident has an emergency, or we face a challenge as a community, our team not only provides security for safety of all, but joins in and contributes to find solutions, resolve issues while ensuring that we keep everyone safe. Far from being confrontational, our proactive approach has proved to be one of the highlight strengths of Vision Tactical.

Unlike any other emergency, the Covid pandemic was something that we hadn’t experienced before, hadn’t trained for, and had limited resources to work with. We adapted our processes to provide services in the age of Covid. Our company Vision Tactical launched its COVID-19 ‘Strategic Preparedness Unit’ in collaboration with our emergency medical partners ER24. The unique vehicle is deployed to support risk communication, community engagement and internal staff training in relation to the pandemic.

Partnerships with law enforcement, provincial departments and health authorities will develop, monitor and implement an effective plan for communicating with the public and creating a better awareness of the risks associated with COVID-19. Our employees worked to provide continuous services while staying safe. This was often no easy task as sometimes policies and procedures would change twice during a single shift. We looked at our organization and found that we already had policies and practices in place to address concerns being raised nationwide, and extended our services to support our community through another year of the pandemic.

The Vision Tactical management advises regularly reviews and updates its policies, and in 2019 completed a comprehensive document to ensure our alignment with recognized best practices within the private security industry. At the beginning of 2020 we focused on partnerships and collaborations with the expressed purposes to “spur involvement with the national discussion on private security function and reform.” Again, Vision Tactical does not shy away from these vexing problems but instead seeks to be part of the solution. In April 2021, we initiated a project  that could conduct a top-to-bottom evaluation of operations. This study focuses on issues such as staffing allocation, assets and vehicles, and policies and procedures.

As protests started and tensions began to rise in July, our units were instantly deployed to ensure safety of our clients and their properties, while our daily operations continued. Our resources on the ground also alerted us to a need to conduct an immediate community-based review of practices as related to private security and law enforcement interactions. Vision Tactical decision to install “GHOST” graphics on the specialised intervention unit fleet of vehicles assists in higher levels of crime prevention and arrests in operational areas. The subdued logos and graphics have caught a few local suspects by surprise in recent arrests – and specialised tactical officers say the switch-over changes the dynamics of crime prevention for the better.

We believe in building and maintaining strong partnerships and this is evident with ER24 who are experts in their field of Emergency Medical Services as well as Tracker Connect who we work with very closely on a day-to-day basis. Vision Tactical is also a member of the Eyes and Ears Initiative (E2) project which is an official joint crime fighting initiative between law enforcement, Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and the Private Security Industry (PSI) allowing all entities to strive to work together with one mandate – making South Africa safer.

Vision Tactical’s “Green Team” has launched its latest environmentally conscious campaign in Houghton and surrounding areas – “Brewing Change”. In an effort to reduce waste and pollution, the Green Team has been involved in various clean-up campaigns, inspiring the call to restore our local environment to its cleanest and aesthetically appealing state.

In its latest approach, the Green Team continues to collect ground coffee from shops once its discarded, transforming it in to a rich fertilizer for our local environment where it will be used in Houghton, Norwood and Killarney and surrounding areas.

The men and women of our Green Team are truly passionate about our environment – you’ll recognise them by their green overalls and friendly smiles! The green team campaign is the result of a great partnership with Freeway Toyota, Nelson Mandela Foundation, LHRA, Shell Glenhove, Mandela Day, Als Hardware and Laher’s Silkscreen, ER24 and we look forward to the exciting campaigns planned for 2022!

The importance of cooperation between law enforcement and private security in South Africa has never been greater, yet the difficulties in establishing effective cooperation between the two areas, remain a major obstacle. This has been highlighted in recent kidnapping cases. In recent cases, partnerships between Vision Tactical and law enforcement has yielded successful arrests as we contribute vast access to technological devices and apparatus at our disposal such as LPR (License Plate Recognition) camera, CCTV in residential areas and various resources available to combat crime. In most cases, the police will be more than happy to lend free advice, information about hotspot areas, and resources to tackle crime. Collaboration is key and the fight against these crimes can only succeed by a multi-faceted approach.

If the partnership is done right, with private companies respecting the authority of the law and law enforcement drawing on the resources and footprint of private security companies, we can be much more effective to protect communities from criminals and potential risks. The expertise and resources can only complement the boots we all have on the ground. It saves time for the police, better protects our clients and communities at the end of the day. In 2022, we will continue to call on role players to find a mechanism within the law so that we can equip ourselves to fight crime.

 Our crime prevention objectives are the same and we must support entities towards a crime free South Africa.

Residents have long enjoyed a special relationship with our officers and management, and our team appreciate working in and for a community that values their service. They’re pleased to share with you some of the highlights of their activities and accomplishments over the past year, and as always they welcome your questions, concerns, and feedback.

We will remember the year 2021 for many things, but what will always stand out to us is the support and compassion of the Vision Tactical community. While 2021 started a conversation, it has not ended. Vision Tactical is committed to partnering with the law enforcement, emergency services and the community to ensure that we employ best practices in private security industry while providing the professional services the community needs and deserves.

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