The Cape Town Metro Police Department has had a successful year, with a year-on-year increase in key statistical areas such as arrests, drug confiscations, and traffic and by-law transgressions. In the 2022/23 financial year, the department achieved 5,662 arrests, confiscated nearly 35,000 units of drugs, 74 firearms, and over a thousand rounds of ammunition.
Positive Indicators and Challenges
While there has been a positive increase in key categories, the number of planned operations, such as vehicle checkpoints, have experienced a downturn. The redeployment of officers to address gang violence, shot spotter alerts, and protest actions, as well as patrolling the N2 and R300 routes daily, is attributed to this downturn.
Lauding the Increased Arrests and Confiscations
Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, lauds the increased arrests and confiscations as evidence of excellent work done by officers, coupled with technology-driven interventions and the public’s active participation in crime-fighting efforts. Smith is optimistic about achieving even greater results in the future by integrating technology with on-the-ground policing. Many of the department’s successes are attributed to tip-offs, integrated operations with other enforcement agencies, and advances made in CCTV monitoring.
The Metro Police Department
The City’s Metro Police Department was established in 2001 and is responsible for crime prevention, traffic enforcement, and by-law enforcement. The department has a staff strength of 729, including around 600 uniformed officers. Specialized units such as the K9 and Equestrian units, Gang & Drug Task Team, Tactical Response unit, and Camera Response unit are part of its operations.
Dedicated Patrols and CCTV Infrastructure
Dedicated patrols are conducted on the N2 and R300, resulting in assistance to 3,892 motorists and 89 arrests for various transgressions in the past year. The department also manages the rollout of CCTV infrastructure through its Strategic Surveillance Unit. In the 2022/23 financial year, 313 new surveillance and license plate recognition cameras were installed, bringing the total to 1,216.
Training and Growth in Performance
The Metro Police Training College has broadened its reach, offering training to hundreds of new recruits and refresher courses for existing staff members across the City’s three enforcement services. Despite the fast-paced nature of the enforcement environment, Smith believes that reviewing the Metro Police Department’s annual performance provides an opportunity to appreciate the magnitude of work done by the staff and their commendable dedication to providing diverse services in crime prevention and enforcement.
This continuous growth in performance and technology integration cements Cape Town’s Metro Police Department as a model for effective law enforcement in modern cities.