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Solving crime is on the cards

Posted on 04/07/2022

It’s hoped prisoners will provide crucial information to crack unsolved crimes in a partnership between SAPOL, Crime Stoppers SA and the Department for Correctional Services, with the distribution of 10,000 new playing cards.

First implemented in 2015, Operation Persist was launched to solve unsolved homicides in South Australia and in 2017, the playing-cards strategy was employed whereby imagery and calls for information were depicted on playing cards distributed to correctional facilities across the state.

Prisoners are offered incentives to contact Operation Persist detectives with information that could lead to solving an unsolved murder or recovering the missing remains of the victims.

Since 2017, 10 cases have being cleared, 20 charges of homicide laid, and three bodies recovered as a result of information provided by prisoners. Of those who came forward, thirty six prisoners also agreed to provide statements for use in court cases.

Two new series’ of cards will be distributed today, with police expecting the success of the strategy to continue.

Imagery used on the playing cards will also be displayed across the TV screens in community corrections facilities and prison visitor waiting rooms.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said the partnership between SAPOL, Crime Stoppers and Correctional Services in implementing and maintaining the prison playing card strategy has been very successful.

“We know inmates share information about their crimes and the criminal activity of their associates,” DSupt Bray said.

“This provides an opportunity and incentive to help police gain closure for victims and families.

“Details about individual cases, prisoners or the prison where those prisoners live are not disclosed to ensure the safety of those assisting Police,” DSupt Bray said.

Crime Stoppers South Australia CEO, Nigel Smart, said the charity was pleased to support this innovative way to call for information.

“We know these murders are more likely to be solved because of information provided to Crime Stoppers from someone on the criminal fringe or a family member of someone who is – and this is a way to reach out to the people who can make a real difference, without needing to say who they are,” he said.

“We want the family and friends of victims to know that Crime Stoppers remains committed to working with police and the community to help identify those responsible and find answers about what happened to their loved one.”

‘The outcomes to date show that prisoners hold and can provide valuable information that can help solve these crimes said the Department for Correctional Services Deputy Chief Executive Hayley Mills.

‘We’re very pleased to be an ongoing partner in this important initiative and play our part in Operation Persist.’


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