Smile! Cape Town law enforcement may soon photograph by-law transgressors to stop them giving false particulars

2018-07-17 19:24
Cape Town Law Enforcement. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Cape Town Law Enforcement. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Caught for a bylaw transgression? The City of Cape Town is looking into using "smart technology", such as photographing the accused and checking their address through Google Maps, to ensure that correct details are given when a transgressor is nabbed.

An additional R2m has been approved for this financial year to "help reinvigorate" the law enforcement department's efforts to track down warrant evaders, the City said in a statement.

Area-based law enforcement staff were currently responsible for warrant executions on behalf of the Court Section, which took time away from their primary duties, it explained. The budget injection was expected to help to "bulk up resources" in the Court Section so that they can execute warrants themselves. 

Read: City of Cape Town law enforcement officers under threat - Smith

Mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith said improving its systems to confirm the identity of suspects caught for by-law transgressions - through the use of photographing the suspect and checking that the address given is indeed the correct one - was also being considered.

"You can’t arrest an individual for a by-law transgression so, when issuing the fine, officers have very little means to confirm whether the details they’re given are correct," he said.

"That then becomes a challenge when we reach warrant stage in a case and we can’t find the accused, because the particulars provided were false. So, we’re starting to look at using smart technology to assist us. This includes taking photographs of the accused, checking address details via Google Maps and so forth."

In cases where the transgressor is caught for illegal dumping, the person's licence plate is checked to confirm his or her particulars, Smith explained.

"Also, traffic by-law offences and those that happen at a fixed address, like flouting building regulations and noise and other nuisances, are also far easier to monitor and track the accused, in the event that they do not abide by the Section 56 notice."

According to the City, the three by-laws that generate the highest number of notices are Traffic; Streets, Public Places and Prevention of Noise Nuisances; and Informal Trading.

These accounted for three-quarters of all notices issued in the first quarter of this year.

Read more on:    jp smith  |  cape town

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