The Facility Protection Officers will work closely with City Law Enforcement’s Rapid Response Unit, Metro Police, Traffic Services, SAPS and communities. Officers will inspect City facilities and escort frontline staff requiring protection in the field, while also playing a general crime prevention role.
Officers will be supported by 200 Facility Protection Monitors deployed to specific facilities to improve overall staff safety and security. Monitors are employed via the Expanded Public Works Programme and recruited from within the communities they will be deployed.
‘With this Facilities Protection Officer initiative, we are pushing back against criminal threats to City staff and public facilities. The programme has a budget of R112 million over three years, an investment the City hopes to recoup in reduced vandalism and theft of critical infrastructure. We are also calling on communities to use our toll-free tip-offs line and cash rewards system for information leading to the arrest of those damaging facilities and making extortion threats against frontline services staff. Together we can protect our community assets, and the staff working faithfully each day to collect our refuse, fix electrical faults, water and sewer networks, roads and more. We can turn the tables on criminals chipping away at our efforts to build a city for all,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.
Staff will be deployed around the metropole, with particular emphasis on identified hotspots based on available intelligence.
‘We have established a list of areas and facilities most under threat, to serve as a starting point. We also have a blueprint, thanks to the initial pilot project a few years ago. In one of the case studies during the pilot, City facilities in two areas suffered damage of nearly R800 000 in just six months. Thanks to the FPO pilot, a year later, there were just three cases of vandalism and theft, with damage dramatically reduced to less than R80 000.
‘Critical to the success of any project is a good working relationship with stakeholders, especially in communities. That is why our FPOs will be expected to liaise regularly with local community structures. We have recruited monitors familiar with their specific neighbourhoods, with insights particular to their deployment area gained from participating in a registered Neighbourhood Watch or the previous Walking Bus programme,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
Among the areas of deployment are: Beacon Valley, Bonteheuwel, Brown’s Farm, Delft, Delft South, Eersteriver, Hanover Park, Harare, Imizamo Yethu, Kuyasa, Langa, Lavender Hill, Leonsdale, Manenberg, Masiphumelele, Netreg, Nyanga, Philippi East, Retreat, Seawinds, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Site C, Tafelsig, Uitsig and Wesbank.
Toll-free Tip-offs line
The City calls on the public to make use of the toll-free tip-off line and claim rewards of up to R5 000 for information leading to arrests of anyone targeting City staff with extortion or damaging City facilities:
Anonymous tip-offs welcome
Call: 0800 1100 77
Tips received by the dedicated tip-off line are relayed to the relevant City agency. Once they have made an arrest/confiscation, they will submit the application for consideration by the Rewards for Information Committee.
The public should note it can take several weeks or months after the arrest or confiscation is made for the reward to be paid out, once all relevant administrative processes have been completed. The system is not open to people under the age of 18.