The Bethlehem Operational Centre is a shining example of how good communication between farmers and the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) can work to the advantage of a rural community. The centre currently provides safety services as well as assistance during fires to about 400 farmers, who are all members of Free State Agriculture. The region served covers 320 000 ha and includes the areas of Clarens, Bethlehem, Fouriesburg, Daniëlsrus, Paul Roux, Kestell, Kaallaagte and Slabberts. Fast communication with all the relevant role players during a crisis is the main function of the centre. “Should a farm attack occur, a sms goes out to all the relevant managers and cluster commanders of the Police, ambulance services and other farmers in the area,” says Herkie Viljoen, chairperson of the committee for safety at the Bethlehem district farmers union.