Cape Town launches new 24/7 tech-led Highway Patrol Unit

The new patrol unit, equipped with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) dash cameras, will be tasked with patrolling all of Cape Town’s main arterial routes on a 24-hour basis, conducting enforcement and assisting motorists who might find themselves in the emergency lane.

The Highway Patrol Unit will conduct visible patrols, enforce traffic laws, and respond to incidents detected through the Freeway Management System cameras. Officers can also help residents who break down and manage traffic when necessary.

The Highway Patrol Unit will be also able to assist with area enforcement and other specialist units like the Ghost Squad, where needed.

Vehicles assigned to the unit will be fitted with dash-cams and Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, while the staff will receive body-cams.

The ANPR dash-cam system is powerful technology that will assist officers with their enforcement work, by automatically tracking motorists with outstanding warrants, identifying duplicate or cloned licence plates, alerting them to stolen vehicles or vehicles that have been identified as having been involved in criminal acts, and more.



Officers will also be static on the N2 at Hospital Bend and Mew Way during peak hours, to respond to any incidents that may affect traffic flow or public safety.

‘This Highway Patrol Unit is our 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.’ said Executive Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis.


The Highway Patrol Unit currently consists of 25 new Traffic Officers, four new Senior Inspectors, one Principal Inspector and two administrative staff members, with plans to double this capacity in the next financial year.

‘This unit was conceptualised several years ago, but the launch was delayed by the pandemic. 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 that is used in leading policing agencies around the world. 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,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.


 

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