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The sequence of events that resulted in the retrieval of a car stolen two years ago showcases not only the skills of the City’s volunteer Law Enforcement service, but also the automatic number plate recognition technology. Read more below:

One of the City’s Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service members helped a car owner recover his vehicle that had been stolen two years ago, after trying to correct an incomplete traffic fine.

Ryan Morris (pictured) ticketed a vehicle during an operation in the Cape Town CBD on Thursday 24 March 2016 for being unlicensed. A few days later, he noticed that some of the details on the fine were not filled in correctly. He verified the vehicle registration number with the Traffic Services control room only to find that the vehicle had been reported stolen in 2014. Thanks to licence plate recognition technology, it was determined that the vehicle is frequently used in the Table View area. On Thursday 31 March 2016, the vehicle was recovered and the owner contacted. It emerged that the car was the subject of a sale, but the owner never received payment and had been unable to locate his vehicle for the past two years.‘This was an immense stroke of luck for the vehicle owner and showed great dedication from our auxiliary member who also happened to be awarded the auxiliary member of the year award just a few months ago. More than that, this case is an example of how the technology that we are investing in is able to help track down criminals and ensure justice for law-abiding residents,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The City introduced the first batch of volunteer Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service (LEAS) members, or ‘specials’, in 2013 as a means to boost its operational capacity and have more feet on the ground without a massive impact on its budget. This project is unique in South Africa

‘While major police forces around the world rely heavily on reservists to meet policing demands, our National Government has sadly been scaling down reservist deployment and we have seen South African Police Service (SAPS) reservist numbers cut from 22 000 a few years ago to barely more than 2 000. In fact, in the last three years, the SAPS has only trained up one reservist, in Tokai,’ added Alderman Smith.

To meet the demand by community policing activists and neighbourhood watch patrollers eager to volunteer their services, the City created its own reservist policing service, namely the Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service. These peace officers – who have police powers of arrest, search and seizure, and who patrol in uniform in their community – have just surpassed the 500 mark in number.

The demand to join the service is so high that the Safety and Security Directorate has set aside R4 million for the 2016/17 financial year, starting 1 July 2016, to fast-track recruitment, training and deployment of several hundred more LEAS specials to allow such volunteers to help make their communities safe.

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