Members of the public will soon be allowed to accompany law enforcement officers as they carry out their duties and see first-hand the challenges they face.
The ‘ride-along’ policy document was this week approved by the Mayoral Committee and will serve before a Council meeting for final approval.
The first of its kind in South Africa, the policy document establishes the required criteria and procedures for allowing civilians to ride in Safety and Security Directorate vehicles. Only individuals with written authorisation will be allowed to accompany officers.
“We hope that members of the public will be able to see first-hand the challenges facing our law enforcement officials every day, as they work towards ensuring a Safe City for all the people of Cape Town,” says Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith.
The Safety and Security Directorate has received many requests to ride along with officers, as well as job-shadowing opportunities from, among others, the media, researchers, volunteers, international delegations and community activists. The hope is that the policy will help the Directorate become more transparent, community friendly and internationally recognised.
“Allowing authorised members of the public to accompany our law enforcement officers will hopefully contribute to the public’s trust in the work we do,” says Alderman Smith.
The policy document details the safety requirements to be taken into consideration when approving a request to accompany officers, to ensure the safety of participants.
The policy is not intended as a delinquency prevention programme, but rather a way to expose residents to the problems faced by the Safety and Security Directorate. The new policy is scheduled to tie in with the Metro Police Youth Academy, starting in June.
“We are working to ensure that the next generation of adults have an improved relationship with the Metro Police specifically, and police in general, and that a stronger bond and understanding will exist between them and the police,” says Alderman Smith.