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Thanks to a burgeoning volunteer corps, the City’s Law Enforcement Department is able to increase its manpower with ‘battle-ready’ recruits.

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Department is steadily bolstering its ranks thanks to its recruitment ‘chain’. The permanent appointment of 44 Law Enforcement officers on 1 May 2016 who had been on contract for two years has opened doors for a nearly 100 other members in the service.

The appointments have paved the way for their contract vacancies to be filled by Volunteer Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service members who are currently employed through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as Stabilisation Unit members and School Resource Officers. This in turn will create an opportunity for unemployed volunteers to be considered for EPWP contracts.‘This is an opportunity for a step up, depending on where an individual resides on the Law Enforcement ladder. The other plus is that these members are already fully trained and in uniform and can hit the streets running from day one, ensuring continuous service delivery to residents. We would not have been able to do this without a very strong volunteer corps within Law Enforcement who have given selflessly of their time and effort since we launched the auxiliary service to make Cape Town safer,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The Safety and Security Directorate launched its Volunteer Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service (LEAS) in 2013 and has recruited just over 200 members to date. Another recruitment drive is currently under way and is open to registered neighbourhood watch members who have received training in the Broken Windows policing model.

The Stabilisation Unit, launched in July 2015 to act as a support unit to the Metro Police Department and South African Police Service, also continues to provide invaluable assistance in areas like Manenberg, Hanover Park, Lavender Hill and Ottery. During the first three months of this year, the unit arrested 192 suspects on drug-related charges and confiscated 121 dangerous weapons, including eight firearms. They also confiscated more than 1 700 units of narcotics.

‘The unit has been doing really good work, mostly because the members are all recruited from among neighbourhood watch organisations and are people committed to fighting to protect their communities. They are an example of how Law Enforcement has adapted to meet the changing landscape. While the primary function of the Law Enforcement Department is by-law enforcement and traffic violations, our officers are starting to play a bigger role in crime prevention, in support of the South African Police Service.

‘We have created a value chain that starts with people joining their local neighbourhood watch, then sees them being trained and appointed as a police reservist in the City’s Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service, which is unique in South Africa, and then sees them go on to get EPWP work as a reservist and then become a full-time staff member. In each case, the previous step is a prerequisite for consideration for employment in that capacity and ensures that we recruit people with passion and commitment to their communities and the cause of a safer city,’ added Alderman Smith.

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