“Security is no longer about guns and guards.” Sound familiar? It should, as it’s a well-worn refrain from security managers over the past few years, and they are correct. As crime has evolved and efforts to counter it have attempted to keep pace, with varying degrees of success, creative strategies and a move away from the ‘tried and tested’ has become essential. What do we mean? One example is the emergence of tactical support teams to augment and sometimes replace run-of-the-mill security officer deployment.
The rise and rise of tactical security
The genesis of tactical security teams was the high LSM northern suburbs of Joburg in the late 1990s (or thereabouts) when the well-equipped bakkies manned by intimidating-looking reaction officers armed with some serious hardware began to appear initially as neighbourhood armed response companies. There were some very good ones and there still are. You know the companies that we refer to here and there’s no question that they bring a higher degree of peace of mind to their clients and the communities that contract their services.
Because the only constant is change, neighbourhood tactical armed response quite easily developed and extended to other roles and applications within the private security environment, over arguably the same period that the SA Police Service’s Flying Squad and 10111 services began to decline. Today, there are numerous examples of tactical security support teams being deployed daily. One such example appeared in the news this week  with Eskom having to support its technicians tasked with converting household electricity consumption to pre-paid, to avoid the plethora of illegal connections and power siphoning perpetrated by *izinyoka for far too long.
Another is the protection offered to companies using our road network to move a variety of cargo, from FMCG to high-value electronics; that fall prey to well-organised truck-hijacking criminals who can empty an 18-wheeler in under 10 minutes and be long gone before any effective security response can be despatched.
Just like it isn’t possible to provide everyone traveling on our roads with security cover, it isn’t feasible to provide every truck with a security escort either. However, when intelligence and technology is judiciously combined with properly trained tactical security teams that communicate effectively, thereby covering a wider range of both territory and assets; you have a better than reasonable chance of protecting those assets and preventing client losses.
Izinyoka, or “snakes” is the colloquial term for those residents who illegally siphon power from streetlights and other communal electricity installations