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Thursday / 20 June 2024
HomeNewsHuge number of arrests and impounds by Cape Town’s 24/7 high-tech highway patrol

Huge number of arrests and impounds by Cape Town’s 24/7 high-tech highway patrol

One year after its launch, Cape Town’s high-tech highway patrol unit (HPU) actioned a large number of arrests and removed an impressive amount of unlawful vehicles from the city’s freeways.

The HPU use vehicles equipped with front and rear-facing cameras, as well as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, to patrol major routes including the N2, N7, R300, and Mew Way on a 24-hour basis, and to provide support to other traffic and enforcement services where needed.

The unit has been so impactful over the last 12 months that it was responsible for 27% of all arrests made by Cape Town’s traffic services despite only consisting of 33 officers – up from 25 at inception in October 2022.

“The impact of the Highway Patrol Unit cannot be underestimated, and as we increase the staff complement, we expect to see even greater returns from this team. It has been a welcome boost to our existing resources, and will be an integral part of our enforcement efforts heading into the festive season,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

106,000 offences captured

Over the last 12 months, the HPU captured over 106,000 offences, with an average of 58 arrests performed each month.

The incidents reported by the unit were as follows:

Category Total
Total offences 106,147
Arrests 1,023
Vehicles discontinued 799
Vehicles impounded 939
Cellphone impounds 1,922

Alderman JP Smith on a ride-along with HPU

“The statistics are very encouraging, and already we are seeing a decline in incidents along some of the deployed routes,” said Smith.

“Apart from tackling errant motorists, the officers are also proving to be a valuable resource for other offences and crimes.”

Recently, HPU officers recovered nearly a thousand mandrax tablets during a traffic stop on the N1; and using the footage from the on-board cameras, they were also able to track down and impound a taxi who evaded arrest by driving away from the police after they attempted to pull it over.

The HPU also serve an integral role in assisting and protecting motorists who find themselves stranded on Cape Town’s highways, which is an increasingly common occurrence, according to the city.

“The HPU are also early adopters of the in-vehicle camera technology as well as the body-worn cameras that form part of the Safety and Security Directorate’s tech investment,” said Smith.

“Their experiences with these tools are incredibly useful for the wider rollout to other units and departments.”

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