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Smart cars patrol Joburg streets
28 November 2008

JMPD spokesperson, Wayne Minnaar shows the latest camera and software technology used to check for false number plates and stolen vehicles

Brand new squad cars will patrol the busy Jozi streets, using state-of-the-art technology to fatten up the thin blue line.

Each JMPD car is capable of scanning about 10 000 vehicles a day
Each JMPD car is capable of scanning about 10 000 vehicles a day

THREE "smart" cars have boosted the crime-fighting capacity of the metro police's patrol car unit.

The unmarked vehicles are equipped with the latest camera and software technology and will be patrolling the roads of Johannesburg seven days a week to check for false number plates and stolen vehicles.

"The establishment of the new unit came about because we needed to be able to get hold of individuals driving around with false number plates and stolen vehicles," said the Johannesburg metropolitan police department (JMPD) spokesperson, Wayne Minnaar.

The unit was officially introduced to the media at the JMPD licensing offices in Loveday Street on 27 November.

Minnaar said fines issued to vehicles with false registration plates were now consolidated into one database and the cars would specifically patrol in areas frequented by these vehicles. They would have back-up at all times and be manned by at least two officers per car.

"Officers will be able to issue summonses and make arrests," he confirmed.

The false number plate investigative unit has been operating since June this year and has already scanned upwards of 800 000 vehicles in Johannesburg.  Each car is capable of scanning about 10 000 vehicles a day. A police officer alone can, at best, do about 30 scans a day.

Two of the cars have camera equipment on top of the roof while the third car has cameras built into the front bumper and resting on the parcel rack at the back.

The vehicles all link to a centralised service which provides access to the databases of the National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS); the South African Police Service; Cyprus, the JMPD database; the South African Revenue Services, where officers will check for illegal imports; and the South African Banking Risk System.

The unit arrested an individual in Klipriver Drive this week with 45 offences against him. He continued to evade arrest because of false information.

"Motorists who break the law now will not get away," warned Minnaar.

The vehicles and equipment are sponsored by Syntell and Traffic Management Technologies, two of the JMPD's service providers that are also responsible for the equipment at all the "smart" roadblocks.  

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