The JMPD's mandate is derived from the South African Police Service Amendment Act 83 of 1998. The department's functions include traffic policing, policing of municipal by-laws and regulations and the prevention of crime.
The department is responsible for:
Co-ordination and development of a crime prevention strategy for the city;
Development of delivery mechanisms and systems for crime prevention and by-law enforcement; and
Guidance, operation and maintenance of an efficient and effective metropolitan police service.
It has seven regional offices, precincts in each region, and sectors in those precincts.
The department believes that visible policing is an important prevention strategy. It has about 2 300 operational staff members, both uniformed and civilian, drawn from the traffic departments, crime prevention and by-law enforcement agencies of the former local councils within the Johannesburg area, who carry out patrol duties. The department plans to expand this number to 4 000 over the next three years.
JMPD officers are easy to spot in their uniforms: blue shirts, brown trousers, black leather boots and baseball caps sporting a JMPD badge.
JMPD officers undergo training in criminal law, community policing and police ethics.
Recruits undergo training at the Metropolitan Police Academy; new recruits are required to have a valid driver's licence and have no criminal record in order to qualify for the six-month course. Recruits who do not have a matric certificate undergo assessment by Technikon SA to determine whether they have the necessary literary and numeracy skills for the job.
Recruits undergo training in firearms, making arrests, accident reporting and how to present evidence in court. Once recruits have completed their six-month training course they are deployed to various police stations for six months of field training before being assigned within the department.
Further training is done annually, with all officers completing at least 18 hours of in-service training in which they are briefed about any amendments to the Road Traffic Act and Police Act. Metro Police officers wanting to specialise in the equestrian or dog units undergo additional training.
The JMPD has a number of divisions:
- Freeway patrols;
- An equestrian unit; and
- The canine unit.
The department works closely with a host of other bodies, including the Department of Home Affairs, which handles issues regarding illegal immigrants; the City's Health Department, which deals with issues such as illegal dumping; and the SAPS.