In a giant step to bring a larger section of the city under technical surveillance, Kolkata Police is all set to add 10,000 CCTV cameras to its arsenal in the next three years. While the project comes under the Smart City project, part of the funding will come from the Nirbhaya funds allocated for this purpose and will be executed under the operational Astha project, announced joint CP (crime) Praveen Tripathi on Wednesday.
The central government had set up the Nirbhaya Fund, a dedicated corpus for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country, in the wake of the December 2012 brutal gangrape incident in Delhi. With this addition, the total number of CCTV cameras is likely to touch around 18,500 in the city, excluding the private ones already in place. Senior Lalbazar cops have been tasked with completing the installation process, including the choice of spots, after taking inputs from the local police.
The police said that besides the usual crime-prone spots and those frequented by women and children, they want to bring the approaches to educational institutes under CCTV coverage. “The idea is to bring the maximum girls’ schools and colleges under CCTV coverage since there are claims of harassment in these areas at times. Additionally, we can ascertain if anti-social activities are being organized near these security zones. We are also trying to track down any suspicious movement. In addition, the CCTVs will help us make continuous study of the traffic situation. This will help strategise responses that can help bring down accidents and cut down on traffic jams,” said an officer.
Police sources maintained that, ideally, they want CCTV cameras even inside the schools, preferably at the entry points. But then, those will not be controlled by the police. “The most important thing is to create a deterrent that will stop criminals from carrying out the crimes,” said the officer.
The cops cited Behala as an example. Located in the southern fringes, CCTV camera was an alien concept until the area was included in the Kolkata Police jurisdiction. The local police have since set up 35 CCTV cameras, besides the traffic police installing one at almost all crossings. “We are approaching individuals and trading establishments so that they share their feed with ours,” said an officer.
A senior officer said that police patrolling and raids have been strengthened with the addition of one more vehicle in each police station, and the local officers have been inst-ructed to advise members of residents’ welfare associations to install CCTV cameras in their localities.
Source: Times of India