Three Chevrolet Luminas, valued at over R1,1-million, were handed over to the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Flying Squad in Port Elizabeth this week.
These high performance vehicles, which boast powerful V8 engines with an output of 270kw, form part of a General Motors South Africa (GMSA) pilot project that has already seen three 9-3 Aero 2.8 V6 Saab vehicles donated to the SAPS Port Elizabeth Flying Squad two years ago.
SAPS ensured that each Lumina is fully equipped with lights, radio and a tracker tracing system valued at around R36, 000 per vehicle while one of the vehicles is equipped with a state of the art camera system, the Arbitrator 2.0, valued at over R100,000.
President and Managing Director of General Motors South Africa and President of General Motors Sub Saharan Africa, Edgar Lourencon, who drives a Lumina himself, handed over the keys to Major General Johan Kapp from the SAPS at a small ceremony at GMSA’s vehicle conversion and distribution centre (VCDC) this morning. “GMSA is committed to making a difference in the community in which we operate and our commitment goes beyond that of assembling and selling motor cars,” said Lourencon.
“We believe in embarking on sustainable projects and initiatives that will impact positively on people’s lives, such as this initiative which has and will continue to make Port Elizabeth a safer place for its citizens.”
Lourencon said the initial project, providing the Port Elizabeth Flying Squad with the SAABs, had shown just how effective such a partnership could be.
“We saw such positive results and how effectively those vehicles were being used that it was a big motivation for us to continue with the project, which has led to today’s handover,” he said.
Statistics show that during the period from January to July 2011, the Port Elizabeth Flying Squad attended to 6,307 complaints. Of those, 1,906 were priority one complaints, indicating a crime of a serious nature in progress where high speed vehicles were required. During the same period, the Flying Squad also made 556 arrests and recovered 196 stolen vehicles.
Lourencon commended Kapp and the flying squad members for the work they do.
“These vehicles will aid you in the fight against crime, and from a visible policing perspective, may intimidate and deter criminals from committing crime,” he said.
Lourencon also commended the staff at the VCDC for their dedication and commitment in equipping the vehicles and getting them ready for the handover.
“This is not simply about handing over these vehicles, we will also be maintaining them and it is good to know that we have such a competent, passionate team that will be keeping these vehicles in good working order,” he said.
Kapp said the new high performance vehicles were a real blessing to the Flying Squad, which responded to priority complaints such as cash in transit heists, armed robberies and hijackings, where quick reaction times were crucial.
“These additional vehicles put us on the same level, if not better, than the larger policing areas in the Western Cape, Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng,” said Kapp.
“This will enable the Flying Squad to render a more professional service to the community and increase our reaction times to priority crimes,” he said.
Kapp said the hand over came at just the right time, as police started gearing up for the festive season.
Two of the SAABs are still fully operational, having clocked over 272,000km per vehicle, while the third vehicle was written off in an accident during a high speed motor chase.