Plan for more officers

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee approved a law enforcement advancement plan (LEAP) to be rolled out in February next year, which will entail the deployment of learner law enforcement officers to areas including Hanover Park and Manenberg.

The plan to boost the City’s law enforcement capacity will guide efforts to assist the Provincial Safety Plan launched by Premier Alan Winde in September.

The provincial government will contribute R1 297 billion to the project over the next four years and the City will contribute R452 million in total.

In terms of the plan, the City will recruit, train and deploy more law enforcement officers to help combat crime, with the bulk of the funding provided by the provincial government.

Five hundred learner law enforcement officers (LLEOs) will be appointed by February 1 2020, with 500 more to be appointed by July 1 2020. The officers will be appointed as peace officers in terms of the regulations issued by the Minister of Justice under the Criminal Procedure Act.

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Half of them will be assigned to Neighbourhood Safety Teams in key crime hot spots like Hanover Park, Manenberg, Atlantis, Kraaifontein, Phillipi East, Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Steenberg.

The list of key areas will be finalised by the provincial government, in consultation with the City.

The City has already launched two Neighbourhood Safety Teams in Bonteheuwel and Delft; the capacity of these could be expanded as well.

The rest of the officers will be assigned to bolster capacity within other areas of the City’s law enforcement department to deal with increasing their response capacity to address violent crime and public violence.

These additional staff will allow for targeted operations in various areas to help reduce crime and violence in communities not identified for priority deployment as identified above.

The appointments will comprise fixed-term contracts from a pool of officers who have come through the Auxiliary and Expanded Public Works Programmes, and have already undergone basic peace officer training.

“Our volunteer auxiliary programme, which we launched more than five years ago, has given us a tremendous advantage, as hundreds of officers have already acquired peace officer training and other practical skills as volunteers, but have also put in many hours on patrol with qualified law enforcement staff, which makes them perfect candidates for advancement,”said Jp Smith, the Mayco member for safety and security.

“In this way, we ensure that we are recruiting passionate and dedicated people to the service who are strongly motivated to work for safer communities and fight crime.”’

The new recruits will undergo further training on the practical skills required to perform their duties. This will be done through the City’s Metro police training college and includes:basic firearms training; procedures relating to the handling of dockets and statements, etc; the National Road Traffic Act; powers and duties and tactical street survival.

Staff will be based at existing City and/or provincial government facilities. Provision has also been made to secure vehicles, uniforms, firearms, radios and other equipment that the staff will require to execute their duties.

The City said this is a valuable and timeous expansion of the policing resources which will go a long way to compensating for the loss of SAPS which has seen a reduction of 4 500 officers over the past four years, rendering the national police service critically short-staffed with 85% of stations being under-resourced.

“This is a massive undertaking, but the City is committed to making it work, in the interest of public safety,” said Mr Smith.