Auxiliary police on Cape Town streets

First 16 volunteer auxiliaries on the beat

Cape Town's first Volunteer Auxiliary Law Enforcement officers have begun operating in the city following council approval of the service over a year ago.

The 16 new auxiliaries began their patrol in the Athlone suburb in late November, as part of the council's plan to increase police operational capacity on the ground without incurring extra costs.

The volunteers are recruited from Neighbourhood Watch schemes across the city and will work a minimum of 16 hours a month, without pay. They will be deployed under supervision of police in areas worst affected by crime, as well as patrolling their own communities.

The auxiliaries undergo much of the same training as regular police but are only trained in the use of firearms after first being declared suitable for the role.

Cape Town hopes to have 400 auxiliary officers on the beat within the next two years according to the city's safety and security councillor JP Smith.