What’s the difference between Metro, Traffic & Law Enforcement Police?

Metro_Police_uniforms[1]A few years ago, there were some major changes to Cape Town’s law enforcement services. Often confused with the SAPS, the city’s peace officers are divided into 3 main groups: Metro Police, Traffic Services & Law Enforcement. But what do they do?

An article in CITY NEWS offered this information:

The City of Cape Town deploys nearly 1500 peace officers daily for approximately 3.5 million residents. Each of the aforementioned departments has a specific focus, but work together with one another.

While they are separate from the SAPS, the intent is to have a ‘close working relationship’ with them, as well as the Provincial Traffic Service & CID patrols. In addition, national legislation informs & guides their function (e.g. the Police Act & National Road Traffic Act).

One of the goals of the peace officers is to provide essential support to the SAPS through constant monitoring & preventative techniques within the city. They do not investigate crimes & criminal persons as the SAPS do, but issue fines & help to stop criminal activity in action. While there has been some controversy over the liberal interpretation of the city’s by-laws by the Metro Police Department, their job is to ensure that the city’s by-laws are adhered to.

Here’s a breakdown of the three roles:

Metro Police

Metro Police Cape TownIdentified by their khaki trousers and beige shirt (officers), or khaki combat trousers & navy blue shirts (operational members), the function of the Metro Police is to provide critical support to the SAPS. Located in Cape Town’s central business district, they can be found on foot or patrolling the area, monitoring activity & ensuring that laws are adhered-to. Their vehicles clearly state ‘Metro Police’, which is also visible on the gold shield on their uniforms.  While they are separate from the other divisions of peace officers, they may overlap functions as necessary and, for example, issue traffic fines & the like.

The Metro Police also work closely with SAPS on criminal issues, focussing on crime prevention, and you may find them setting up road blocks or searching vehicles for illegal substances.

metro police badgeContact information:

METRO POLICE CONTROL ROOM at 021 596 1999 or 021 – 5961400

0860 765 423

Cape Town Metropolitan Police Department
101 Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town, 8000
Postal Address:
Cape Town
Metropolitan Police Department
PO Box

Traffic Services

traffic services uniformIdentified by their blue trousers & light blue shirts, the officers of the Traffic Services drive white & blue vehicles clearly marked with ‘Traffic Services’. There is one exception: the ‘Ghost Squad’. This is a team of ‘elite’ & experienced traffic officers are always uniformed, but their vehicles are unmarked, meaning that they’re not that easy for traffic offenders to identify & dodge.

The Traffic Services badge is a gold star with the logo of the City of Cape Town at its centre, and their focus is on general traffic violations, blocked driveways, etc.

traffic services vehicle

traffic services badge

Contact Information:

0860 765 423

Law Enforcement:

law enforcement image

Also kitted out in blue, the Law Enforcement division wears darker blue uniforms with gold shields (similar to the Metro Police shield). Their focus is on upholding bylaws of the city such as graffiti control, public intoxication, nuisance complaints, etc. They also have a division focussing specifically on cable theft (Copperheads), metal theft & a marine unit, among others. Their vehicles are very clearly marked in white, yellow & blue, and they’re not to be confused with the SAPS.

law enforcement vehicle cape town


law enforcement badge

Contact Information:

0860 765 423 or 021 596 1999 or 021 – 5961400

Some of the images above, courtesy of Justice Project South Africa.

The author is a member of the security industry & represents Thorne – Trusted Barrier Systems, a provider of polycarbonate burglar preventatives & products.


5 thoughts on “What’s the difference between Metro, Traffic & Law Enforcement Police?

  1. I’m current in grade 12 and I would like to study metro traffic next year,so would you please assist me in any way you can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s