The Johannesburg Metro police’s duties, despite what many believe, do not only include roadblocks.
The department, which will soon welcome an additional 1 500 officers, effectively doubling its ground force, has three core functions.
Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar, who has been with the department for over 30 years, explained that crime prevention, by-law enforcement and road policing are at the core of every Metro police officer.
Minnaar also said that Metro police officers do have more responsibilities than local traffic police, but not as much as the South African police.
“The main difference between us and the South African police is, they investigate crimes and we do not.”
Officers need to be visible on patrol and should respond to crime when it happens.
Units like the famous and hugely successful K9 Tactical and Narcotics Unit has a core crime prevention function.
Certain by-laws, such as illegal dumping, street trading and illegal connections are enforced by the Metro police.
Often, other departments like Johannesburg Water and City Power are also involved.
Specialised units, such as the freeway patrol (unit tasks like funeral escorts) have a road policing function. Officers need to ensure that road traffic regulations are adhered to.
Metro police also have a Community Outreach Unit within its communications section that educates residents and even schoolchildren about road safety, by-laws and crime.
To become a Metro police officer, training is conducted over two years, including a programme at the South African police.
To qualify as an officer, you need to be between 18 and 35 years old, be able to run at least 2,4km and do 50 situps and push-ups. Once you can do this, an intense obstacle course should be completed before final acceptance.