While motorists in Cape Town were puzzled by the cardboard cutout of a traffic official that was posted along the Blaauwberg Road on Tuesday, this was not an isolated incident as ‘cardboard constables’ and ‘scarecrow sergeants’ have previously been deployed in South Africa and other parts of the world.
Earlier this week, a photo depicting the life-sized figure of a man, dressed in a traffic official’s uniform, standing behind what appears to be a genuine speed camera was taken in Blaauwberg Road, Table View and posted on social media.
This caused quite a stir on Facebook community groups and other social media platforms with many questioning the authenticity and legitimacy of using the cutout cops.
While city officials have failed to respond to media enquiries regarding whether they were in fact responsible for placing this ‘official’ at his recent post, this tactic is not anything new, having already been tried and tested by local and international law enforcement some time ago.
In 2017, Businesstech reported on a similar tactic in Gauteng when Arrive Alive posted pictures to social media of cardboard cut-outs of Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) traffic cars along sections of the N1 and N4 in Gauteng and surrounds.
At the time, the Metro police said that the initiative was undertaken by the Bakwena road agency – which operates sections of the N1 and N4 in Tshwane, Bela-Bela, Rustenburg, and Zeerust – to curb speeding during the Easter period.
Similar concepts have also been tried in the USA, UK and Canada, where they have been found to be an effective deterrent for speedsters and other criminal elements.
Cardboard cops have become so prevalent that they can be bought on Amazon for as little as R1000 (US$49.95) with various versions and options on offer.
Picture: chrissy.smith.7393 / Facebook