Jul 19, 2013 News
Availability of CCTV footage is unquestioned – Luncheon
The government has come out with a sharp response to statements by the country’s Crime Chief that he must put in an application to the Office of the President before he can access footage from those CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras around the city.
“Nonsense” is how the government’s chief spokesperson Dr Roger Luncheon described as “the notion that the Office of the President gets footage and sticks it ‘in you know where’.”
“What are we going to do with it, play with it?”
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud on Wednesday said there is an effort to have feeds from those cameras directly to the police so that they can “independently research and use what evidence is collected” from the camera. He said the Police can only access the feed from the cameras by lodging an application with the Office of the President.
“I don’t like that word ‘apply’,” said Luncheon at the Office of the President yesterday.
“He ain’t mean it that way. Even if he seh suh, dah nah wah he mean,” Luncheon said.
“I don’t want it bandied around that… as though (the Crime Chief) got to cap he head and seh ‘ow HPS, give me piece ah de action, show me a piece a footage.’ This is nonsense; doesn’t happen.”
Luncheon said that availability of the CCTV footage is “unquestionable”.
And what is more, Dr Luncheon said, those cameras were never set up to help the Police respond to crimes as they are being committed.
On Wednesday, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud announced that the Police are not the ones who keep their eyes on what is happening around the city as captured by camera set at various points. That footage is captured from the Central Intelligence Centre and the Crime Chief said that to get it, he must first put in a request.
Dr Luncheon said that that intelligence gathering is not the province of the Police, and in fact, the footage captured and stored at the Central Intelligence Agency is accessible to the Police and other agencies.
Luncheon said that the cameras were not set up so that the Police can see what is happening in real time and respond to crimes as they happen.
As to when the Police would be able to look at what is being captured by the cameras and have rapid response units at strategic points to go into action as crimes are being committed, Luncheon quipped that that would probably be when the country hits oil or when the Amaila Falls Hydro Project starts producing power.
“Instead of 140 cameras, if you had rapid response, you would have had to put three cameras,” Luncheon stated.
The Central Intelligence Centre, where the footage is being captured, is being manned mainly by the Office of the President, with some staffing coming from the Police and Army whose officers were seconded to help run the agency.
Persaud said that the programme, with respect to the surveillance cameras, needs to be expanded to give the police direct access to the footage derived from them.
“I think it’s a programme that needs to be expanded. It has helped in some incidents of crime, it has helped a whole lot in traffic investigations as well,” Crime Chief Persaud told the media.
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