File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - To ensure a safer environment for passengers on the Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS), the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement department has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with GABS that will pave the way for law enforcement officers to do duty on buses, the city said on Sunday.

This on board enforcement would add value to the service and ensure the safety of passengers, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement.

The appointment of 20 law enforcement officers was made possible by the city’s expanded public works programme (EPWP). Apart from ensuring the safety of passengers on GABS buses, officers would also be responsible for the enforcement of relevant by-laws, such as traffic and parking by-laws. The MoA signed by the city would see parties working closely in the interest of the safety of passengers.

"The memorandum will allow the city to work closely with GABS and will give passengers added value and peace of mind in knowing that there will be a law enforcement presence on buses. Officers will liaise closely with passengers so that they can gather information about possible criminal activity, plan accordingly, and act swiftly where necessary. In this regard the city would like to request passengers to assist officers in informing them of any anti-social behaviour, or other activities that could cause a disturbance on buses," Smith said.

The key focus of the law enforcement officers would be to have a high visibility on GABS buses so as to not only protect and serve, but also to be a deterrent to possible criminal activity on buses and at bus depots. In doing so, the officers would conduct stop-and-search operations, including random searches, at predefined bus stops and shelters, he said.

GABS general manager Derick Meyer said Golden Arrow was optimistic that the new GABS-funded unit would be a success. "It is our sincere hope that the presence of these law enforcement officers will serve as a deterrent and that the information gathered via the programme will lead to arrests and convictions. We appeal to our passengers to give these officers their full support. We remain committed to playing our part in the fight against crime," Meyer said.  

The MoA would be in place until February 2020 with the hope to review and extend the programme, subject to operational requirements and as agreed upon by both parties.  

African News Agency (ANA)