Cape Town Police to start wearing bodycam

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South Africa
South Africa

Cape Town has become the first South African city to start a large-scale rollout of body-worn cameras (bodycams) and dashboard cameras (dashcams) for its law enforcement officers and their vehicles.

The initiative forms part of the South African legislative capital’s 860-million-rand (about 45 million U.S. dollars) safety technology investment over the next three years to “make Cape Town safer,” said a media statement published Wednesday night on the website of the city government.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, mayor of Cape Town, who trialed the new body and in-vehicle camera technology during a demonstration on Wednesday, said more than 800 metro police officers will get bodycams while over 300 vehicles will be fitted with dashcams in the current financial year, according to the statement.

Hill-Lewis said the dashcams come fitted with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology so that officers will instantly be alerted to wanted vehicles and outstanding warrants.

“These devices are used widely around the world and have shown tremendous success,” the mayor said. “This is the first time they are being deployed at this scale for a government agency in South Africa.”

According to the statement, the initiative would increase trust and accountability in the municipal police and law enforcement because interactions with the public will always be recorded.

Other major cities in South Africa, including Johannesburg, also have plans to use bodycams to monitor officer performance and enhance crime-fighting capabilities.

Last month, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department said there are hopes that by next year, traffic officers will be issued with body cameras with the aim of rooting out corruption.

However, no other local authority has yet implemented the technology.

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