A team of 70 new metro police officers will patrol Cape Town’s beleaguered railway system from October.
The officers‚ who are in training at the metro police training college in Observatory‚ were inspected on Wednesday by Western Cape premier Helen Zille and City of Cape Town MEC for transport Brett Herron. They will be part of a 100-strong team jointly funded by the provincial and municipal government, and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa)‚ in a R48m year-long pilot project.
“The number of people using trains in the Western Cape has dropped due to arson and vandalism and crime on our trains‚” Zille said. “I hope in 10 years’ time we will look back at this metro police rail unit as the turnaround point for our trains.”
A man was killed and eight others injured when they were robbed then thrown from a train on Friday night near Eerste River station.
Herron said the officers will be deployed on the central line from Cape Town to Khayelitsha‚ the city’s busiest‚ according to information from crime intelligence experts. “We hope to see a reduction of crime and more commuters returning to trains over the next 12 months.”
The remaining 30 officers for the new unit will enter training later, after a row this week over Prasa’s delay in contributing its R16m share of the project costs.