Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Sep 2009

SECURITY: Rent-A-Traffic-Cop By City


Recent Western Cape Business News

The City of Cape Town’s rent-a-cop initiative may soon be expanded to deploy Traffic Officers across the metropole.

To date, the municipality has provided 18 rent-a-cop Law Enforcement Officers to four City Improvement Districts (CIDs), namely Cape Town, Sea Point, Epping and Wynberg, as well as 12 dedicated officers to patrol the Cape Town station deck.

This initiative enables the City to increase levels of visible policing despite budgetary constraints,” says Cllr JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

Last year the City Council agreed that individuals, companies, NGOs or institutions could sponsor Law Enforcement, Metro Police and Traffic Officers as part of its ‘rent-a-cop’ concept.

Sponsors pay for the salaries of the relevant officers and contribute 50% towards their training, uniforms, transport, overtime and equipment costs.

The first pilot project kicked off in the CBD last year with four rent-a-cops joining the Central City Improvement District (CCID). The success of this project resulted in the signing of five one-year contracts with the four CIDs and the Transport, Roads and Stormwater Directorate in March this year.

These qualified officers are able to focus on addressing disorder, minor crimes and traffic offences leaving Metro Police to handle more serious crimes.

The City/sponsor agreement allows rented officers to be pulled back into Metro Police, Law Enforcement or Traffic Services in the event of serious operational needs,” says Cllr Smith.

Although sponsors pay the salaries of rent-a-cops, the officers report to the City of Cape Town. On the other hand, sponsors can request that they be deployed to cover trouble spots during problem hours.

The dedicated deployment of these officers allows them to get to know the area, focus on disorder and crime-related problems particular to the area and pro-actively enforce the law. Since March the rent-a-cops have made 500 arrests, issued 3100 fines for by-law offences, issued 12 200 fines for traffic offences and took part in 200 enforcement operations.

This is a good example of public/private partnerships as the City’s policy provides for the private sector and other interested organisations to negotiate a rent-a-cop deal with the City. Rent-a-Cop officers are either newly recruited or selected from a pool of contract workers who work for the City from time to time. These officers are thus not taken from existing resources and the initiative therefore does not have a negative impact on the current levels of law enforcement staff.

The City is currently negotiating with the insurance industry to sponsor Traffic Officers for deployment at various problem areas in an attempt to enhance traffic and pedestrian safety and reduce the rate of accidents,” Cllr Smith says.

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