More officers to patrol metro

2015-05-05 06:00

As the council announces plans to boost law enforcement numbers, City Bowl stakeholders are hoping some of these resources will be funnelled into the CBD.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant has been lobbying for more officers on the streets of the CBD to assist with growing visitor numbers and the knock-on traffic and bylaw violations.

He confirmed in a recent ward committee meeting that he had approached mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith to request more officers.

The CBD falls within Area West of the metro, which has a total staff complement of 74, plus 11 staff members deployed through additional funding from the Central Improvement Districts in the city bowl, Green Point and Sea Point, explains Smith.

These officers work until 18:00, with only specialised units such as liquor enforcement and vice squads working later.

The City of Cape Town now plans to swell its ranks with an additional 72 officers who would patrol the greater metro 24 hours a day. “The proposed deployment for law enforcement is to utilise 40 officers and eight inspectors and to split them into 10 officers per area with two inspectors as supervisors,” he says.

This means Area West, which includes Retreat, Strandfontien, Woodstock, Claremont, False Bay and the City Bowl, will receive a dozen additional officers.

“The proposed deployment for Cape Town Traffic is to utilise four inspectors as supervisors and 20 existing traffic officers and to split them into six officers per area,” Smith says.

This will amount to five operational members plus one supervisor per area.

While there are currently 240 public safety officers deployed by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), they only have limited powers, explains safety and security manager Mo Hendricks.

“Law enforcement officers have the power to enforce all bylaws, including non-moving traffic violations, for which they can issue fines. They also have powers of arrest, as well as search and seizure. The only arrests that our CCID public safety officers may engage with are in connection with schedule 1 offences that occur in their presence,” he says.

Although the CCID offers a visible presence 24/7, 365 days a year, this leaves a need for more law enforcement, Hendricks says.

“The Cape Town CBD is gradually evolving into a 24-hour centre, with increasing numbers of both night-time visitors as well as residents living in the central city, and deployment of law enforcement around the clock, seven days a week, is a priority for public safety,” he says.

However, Smith says the need stretches across the metro, not just in the CBD.

“There are many bylaw and traffic transgressions that require enforcement after-hours. This proposed roll-out is aimed at creating a safer city for residents and to reduce the pressure on the City’s Metro Police Department which is currently the only enforcement agency offering a dedicated 24-hour service,” he says. Hendricks believes nurturing a culture of law abiding citizenship is vital and can only be done when minor offences, such as by-law and traffic infringements, are attended to.

“Taking these infringements into hand and dealing with them swiftly and effectively is the best way to minimise major offences from occurring,” he insists

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