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NEWS > 06 February 2008

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South Africa: Dutch Police to

Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula on Wednesday signed an agreement with his Dutch counterpart establishing a framework for bilateral police cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement signed with Guusje ter Horst, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, commits the two countries to improving the quality of policing generally.

The pact focuses on promoting bilateral cooperation in the fields of law enforcement, crime prevention, public order and public safety.

On the question of non-operational cooperation, Ms Ter Horst said this would include intelligence sharing on the question of, for example, potential hooliganism during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

She added that she was impressed by the extent of police cooperation with the communities they serve, after a visit to a trauma counselling centre in the Cape township of Khayelitsha.

Mr Nqakula said that for its part, South Africa would benefit from Dutch experience in dealing with the integrity - or otherwise - of police members.

The Minister of Safety and Security pointed out that the Netherlands criminal justice system has a dedicated unit that deals specifically with the question of integrity in the policing system, and that there is "a lot we can learn with regard to that issue."

Assuring high standards of integrity in the policing system is one of the areas of cooperation.

Mr Nqakula would not expand further on this, however, saying that these issues are earmarked for the government cluster briefings that are scheduled for next week.

The Dutch minister said quality of policing was among the issues marked out for further cooperation between the two governments.

She added that the agreement would involve an exchange of police members between the two countries, as well as exchanges between police academies.

Mr Nqakula also referred to the problem of violent crime in South Africa, which has been taken up at Cabinet level as something which "bothers us no end".

Cabinet remains very concerned at the high levels of violent crime in South Africa, which were "unacceptable", he said.

To deal with the matter in a more comprehensive way, the minister said that the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation had been mandated by the department of Safety and Security to draw up a report on violent crime in the country.

Another area that is drawing attention is the question of domestic violence in South Africa, he said.

This report would be ready by the end of the year, he said, and would then be discussed in Cabinet.

The agreement between the two countries will also focus on improving the quality of detective and middle-management training.

It will strive towards improving bilateral cooperation in the area of community policing and enhancing cooperation for security and safety at major international events.

Cooperation is also intended in the area of expertise exchange regarding non-operational exchange in the areas of organised crime, corruption and border controls.

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