Cape Town – The City of Cape has launched its Highway Patrol Unit, which will patrol main arterial routes 24/7 using hi-tech equipment.
The new unit is equipped with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) dash cameras. While conducting patrols, this unit will also be conducting traffic enforcement and assisting motorists, and respond to incidents detected through the Freeway Management System cameras.
The unit will also be able to assist in area enforcement and other specialist units, like the Ghost Squad, where needed.
The City said officers would also be equipped with body cams.
The ANPR dash cam system, it said, is powerful technology that will assist officers in conducting their tasks and will automatically track motorists with outstanding warrants, identify duplicate or clone licence plates, alert officers of stolen vehicles or vehicles that have been identified as used in a commission of a crime.
The unit will be visible along the N2 highway at Hospital Bend and Mew Way during peak hours to respond to any incidents that may affect the flow of traffic or public safety.
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said this new unit is the City’s latest investment in public safety.
“We hope that this helps road users feel safer on our main highways. We’ll keep going with investments like this and new cutting-edge crime-fighting technology until every resident feels safer in Cape Town.
“This unit also signals the first shift to a 24-hour Traffic Service operation in Cape Town. And the inclusion of technology highlights our focus on innovation in crime fighting to make our Officers more effective in their work.
“The activation of this unit is well-timed as we prepare for the festive season, which requires all hands on deck to ensure a safe and happy time for our residents and visitors alike,” Hill-Lewis said.
The unit boasts 25 new traffic officers, four new senior inspectors, a principal inspector and two administrative staff members.
There are plans to double this unit in the next financial year.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith, said this unit was conceptualised several years ago.
“ I’m very happy to see the idea finally come to life for the benefit of road users and safer commuting.
“It will also be a welcome boost to our existing efforts to mitigate the risks posed by criminals on our highways. A dedicated Highway Patrol Unit is a best-case practice used in leading policing agencies worldwide.
“As Cape Town continues to model its future policing functions in line with international standards, this unit is a welcome addition to the existing enforcement services.
“Our Metro Police Department has been doing sporadic patrols on mainly the N2 and R300 for a number of years now amid an increase in attacks, and this Highway Patrol Unit will expand our footprint to other routes, including the N7, which has also developed a reputation,” Smith said.