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Ghost squad h(a)unts down speedsters <p>​Launched in July 2009, the Ghost Squad proved to be effective from the start. With 12 officers using unmarked vehicles, they recorded an average of more than 2 000 offences for the first few months. Today the unit has 25 high performance vehicles patrolling the City’s streets and highways. These vehicles include motorcycles and cars.</p><span> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:787px;" /> </figure></span><p>‘The amount of motorists arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol has increased steadily over the past three months as traffic volumes increased coupled with the easing of lockdown. While this was to be expected, it remains disconcerting that drivers slip so easily into their old ways. The number of motorists arrested for more serious offences such as illegal street racing, reckless and negligent driving poses a serious threat. We often see a combination of these offences leading to the arrest of offenders. Motorists arrested for illegal street racing often face additional charges if linked to driving under the influence of alcohol,’  said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.</p><p>The City’s Traffic Service purchased 15 vehicles  for the Ghost Squad during the previous financial year (2019/2020) in order to keep up with the growing numbers of vehicles on the road and subsequent offences. The vehicles  blend in with other high performance vehicles currently used by illegal street racers.</p><p>Ghost Squad vehicles assist officers with a faster  reaction time and  improved efficiency in pursuing speeding drivers. Officers in this unit are well-trained and have done the necessary advanced driver courses at various facilities, which gives them a better understanding of their own capabilities and that of their vehicle. </p><p>ThsSome of the most common violations that the Ghost Squad deals with on a daily basis are unlicensed vehicles and drivers, driving without a number plate, red robot offences, speeding violations, illegal street racing and reckless driving. </p><p>There has been a dramatic increase in illegal street racing. During the last week of October 2020, officers arrested 23 drag racers, of which 18 were under the influence of alcohol.</p><p>Another cause of concern is the amount of motorists driving without number plates. The City’s Traffic Service warns motorists that a vehicle with only one number plate or no number plates is deemed  unroadworthy and officers will issue a fine and a suspension notice in response to this offence. </p><p>‘Motorists driving without number plates violate the National Road Traffic Act and often do this to avoid detection for speeding and outstanding warrants of arrest. The Ghost Squad  is committed to enforcing the rules designed to ensure the safety of all motorists and will arrest those who contravene these rules, ’ said Alderman JP Smith.</p><p>The Ghost Squad’s operational reports since August this year highlight the type of arrests made:</p><p>August                      <br>• Nine arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI)<br>• 18 arrested for reckless and negligent driving<br>• Five arrested for false documentation<br>• Nine arrested for other offences</p><p>September               <br>• 22 arrested for DUI<br>• 26 arrested for reckless and negligent driving<br>• Six arrested for false documentation<br>• Four arrested for other offences</p><p>October                               <br>• 52 arrested for DUI <br>• 117 arrested for reckless and negligent driving<br>• One warrant of arrest issued<br>• Five arrested for false documentation<br>• Five arrested for other offences <br>  <br>Offenders often think they will not get caught if they drive at high speed. They are, however, mistaken. In May this year, a mechanic taking a client's motorcycle for a test drive was arrested after he passed a Ghost Squad officer at high speed on the N1 towards Bellville. Travelling at around 247 km/h the rider was pulled over and arrested for reckless and negligent driving.<br>‘The City’s Traffic Service have operational plans in place to deal with the increase in traffic flow over the festive season. Visible enforcement vehicles and unmarked vehicles will be out on patrol to ensure a safe road environment and to protect the constitutional rights of law abiding motorists, added Alderman Smith.</p><p><br>Motorists can call  the City’s  Public Emergency Communications  Centre to report any suspicious vehicle or driver behaviour by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.</p>2020-11-18T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#0081d166-0367-4473-ab34-0f37174e94fa;L0|#00081d166-0367-4473-ab34-0f37174e94fa|ghost squad;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#8bcb3d42-0729-455c-8318-47a32a2a4e02;L0|#08bcb3d42-0729-455c-8318-47a32a2a4e02|National Road Traffic;GP0|#27e05015-d26c-4e47-9c39-1527c1d3771f;L0|#027e05015-d26c-4e47-9c39-1527c1d3771f|traffic services Department10

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