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Cape Town police get body and vehicle cameras

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 22 Sept 2022

The City of Cape Town’s Metropolitan Police Services Department is accelerating its digital strategy by deploying body and vehicle surveillance cameras, in efforts to help its members intensify the war against crime.

This was the word from Geordin Hill-Lewis, mayor of Cape Town, speaking at the recent Africa Tech Week 2022 Conference organised by Sentech.

Providing an update on the city’s ongoing tech initiatives, Hill-Lewis expressed pride that the Western Cape currently holds the title of Africa's tech capital, noting the Mother City’s world-class digital ecosystem gives rise to a wealth of tech industry opportunities.

He detailed how tech is being used to address the issue of safety and security in the city.

The province has been pushing the national government to give it some authority, to oversee the national policing competencies in order to gain better control of its local security.

According to Hill-Lewis, members of the city’s Metropolitan Police will now walk around with body cameras or wearable cameras, and surveillance cameras will be placed in police vehicles to help gather evidence and improve the crime conviction rate.

Previously, only local traffic officers were issued with body cameras.

“In every aspect of our life, whether in traditional workplace productivity, or agriculture, or in making our cities safer for residents and the business community, technology is going to revolutionise the way we do business in all those spaces,” noted Hill-Lewis.

“We will have body cameras for all our police officers this year. We will also have dashboard cameras for all of our vehicles, which will be integrated with licence plate recognition technologies to provide police officers with the ability to pick up, in real-time, any wanted vehicle driving around the city, or even a driver that has outstanding arrest warrants.”

According to Hill-Lewis, the city’s metro police hired a CTO, whose job is to focus on the investment pipeline for crime-fighting technologies in Cape Town.

“We are the first law enforcement agency locally, that I’m aware of, that has recruited a CTO in the metro police department – who will tell us about all the cutting-edge technologies from around the world, that we need to invest in, to fight crime,” he added.

Furthermore, from 1 October, the department will start using sensors placed in different parts of the city, to be able to eco-locate and pinpoint the exact location of a gunshot, during a shooting incident.

“This means we will be able to send out the response unit to that exact area where the gun was fired from, to give them a better chance of apprehending the perpetrators. We have several other significant tech investments coming into Cape Town.”

He also lauded the department for its aerial surveillance drone technology initiative, which has worked tirelessly to combat crime and vandalism through the help of drones, which give the officers an eye-in-the-sky view of the city.