A day in the life of a law enforcement officer

Roline Spees talks to False Bay College about what it means to work in the law enforcement field for the City of Cape Town.

False Bay College: What qualifications do you have?
Spees: Matric and Safety in Society Certificate.

FBC: What does the job entail?
Spees: I’m part of a team that is responsible for ensuring that City Council by-laws are upheld, ensuring a better quality of life for residents. We work closely with various other government departments to clamp down on offences such as general nuisances, alcohol offences, illegal informal trading and illegal parking.

Trained officers have the power to confiscate, arrest, issue compliance notices and fines, and shut down illegal operations that infringe the various by-laws.

The different law enforcement units include the Copperheads, an elite task team of specially trained officers who combat the theft of non-ferrous metals which is rife in Cape Town. Other units deal with enforcement of liquor laws, address anti-social behaviour, and deal with problem buildings and graffiti.

FBC: Why did you choose this career?
Spees: Growing up in Mitchell’s Plain, I had always admired traffic officers, especially those on motorcycles. So when I found out about the Safety in Society course at False TVET Bay College I applied for it straight after matriculating.

With all the bad things happening in my neighbourhood it was really hard to stay focused. People used to ask me when I would complete my studies and many saw it as a waste of time. But I persevered and now have my sights set on a managerial position in law enforcement.

FBC: What do you like most about your job?
Spees: I enjoy the fact that I can make a difference in the community, and do my best to be an example to young people.

FBC: What advice can you give to prospective students?
Stay focused and pay careful attention to your lecturers and mentors.

FBC: Where did you train?
Spees: I completed the 3-year programme at the Westlake campus of the False Bay TVET College in 2012. The course enabled me to obtain my driver’s licence and gave me the knowledge of policing and drilling skills I need in my current position.

I deeply appreciate the assistance I got at the college, which included a bursary for the two years, the best lecturers and a great study environment. Much of my success is due to the mentoring and encouragement I received from my parents as well as the college lecturers Mrs Thomas, Mrs Weir, Mrs Seroko and Mrs Jordan.

Expected earnings : Newly certified law enforcement officers can expect to earn just under R8 000 a month, and the average salary for officers in South Africa is around R19 000 a month.