Police: World Cup will make South Africa safer

ZURICH - South Africa will reap long-term benefits from the security measures being introduced for the World Cup, police and tournament organisers said on Friday.

Interpol said it was sending its largest-ever team to the tournament in June to help with security, one of the main concerns in a country notorious for its high crime rate where around 50 people are murdered daily.

Police also said they had learned lessons from January's attack on the Togo team in Angola.

"We're spending 1.3 billion rand ($173 million) in preparation for the safety of the tournament and the new equipment is not going to be taken back to the shops once it's over," South Africa Police Commissioner Bheki Cele told reporters after a two-day workshop at FIFA headquarters.

"The extra training for the police will not be reversed, it will stay with the South African police. The structures which have been put in place for the 2010 World Cup will stay."

"The better skills, understanding and equipment will go a long way to making sure that South Africa will benefit after 2010."

FIFA said that police and security representatives from 28 of the 31 visiting World Cup teams took part in the unprecedented workshop in Zurich on Thursday and Friday.

"Interpol will deploy the largest-ever team of experts for any major event," the organisation's manager of operations Chris Easton told the conference.

"We will have people to provide Interpol tools and services to the South African police, including a database on lost passports and documents, internal criminal database and the capacity to identify people known to disrupt international major events."

"The preparation and planning by South African police is exceptional by any standard."

Cele said organisers had learned from the attack on the Togo team before the African Nations Cup, when two members of the Togolese delegation plus their bus driver died in an ambush in Cabinda province.

"It has made us better and brighter in our preparations," added Cele, who said he was in Cabinda a day before the attack where gunmen opened fire on the Togo team bus.

Cele said that not all of South Africa's police would be at World Cup-related events.

"South Africa has 188,000 police personnel. Of those, 44,000 will be dedicated to looking after the World Cup activities, so the rest will be looking after the general safety of South Africans and our guests, including fan fests, public viewing areas, places of entertainment, clubs and so on.

"We have made proper preparations so that South Africans and their guests will be safe."