OR Tambo airport management works to identify ‘airport spotters’

It is alleged these so-called ‘airport spotters’ alert criminals behind the follow-home robberies.

After the management of OR Tambo International Airport last week expressed concern about the crime incidents in the airport’s vicinity and against people followed from the airport, it on Tuesday said it was working through the public safety and security staff to identify alleged “airport spotters”.

The so-called airport spotters are believed to alert the criminals behind the follow-home robberies.

On Sunday, magazine and actuality programme Carte Blanche, lifted the lid on the alleged “airport spotters”, speaking to one who described how the insiders were spread across various people working in different roles at the airport and identified potential victims.

Last week, spokesperson for OR Tambo International Airport Leigh Gunkel-Keuler expressed concern about a recent follow-home crime that saw two people shot and wounded.

“It is our understanding that there is a high level of awareness of these matters within the South African Police Services [SAPS)] which has the responsibility for preventing and investigating crime in and around the airport.

“As airport management, we continue to engage with the SAPS on these matters and attempt to effectively communicate the concerns that we hear from the public. In addition, we provide any assistance we can to the efforts of the SAPS to prevent crime that is connected to the airport in some way,” said Gunkel-Keuler in a statement issued last week.

After information about alleged “airport spotters” came to light, the OR Tambo International Airport said in a statement issued on Tuesday it was “highly supportive” of the SAPS’ crime prevention plan, which they said was, “in part, geared to identifying the alleged spotters”.

Gunkel-Keuler said: “We will not hesitate to take decisive action when we identify any person helping the criminals, irrespective of whether these spotters are employed by Airports Company South Africa or one of the many service providers operating at the airport.”

She added they would continue to work with SAPS on various measures to identify the spotters and criminals and that the airport’s executive would continue to work with various stakeholders within the travel and tourism sector so as to remain engaged on the issue of crime.

Gunkel-Keuler said: “In so far as driving more robust and consultative engagement is concerned, a case in point is today’s Tourism Business Council of South Africa meeting, to which we as airport management, Ekurhuleni Metro Police and the SAPS were invited to present.

“As airport management, we met with key stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector. We too spoke of our mounting concern around issues of crime in a candid and transparent manner. SAPS officials were also present to provide an update on their crime prevention approach. Our commitment to being a part of the solution continues. However, in order to achieve this we remain reliant on the commitment of others.”

She went on to describe how an airport was a complex facility in which many stakeholders operated and that certain of the key stakeholders were not accountable to airport management in the execution of their safety and security mandate, and therefore safety and security efforts needed to be carefully synchronised.



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