Jul 19, 2013 News
Although the government may wish to acquire CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras for various reasons, the police need to have direct access to the cameras for effective law enforcement. This assertion was made by Parliamentarian and former Police Commissioner, Winston Felix, who currently holds the portfolio of Public Security & Human Safety for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Felix was at the time responding to questions about the revelation by Crime Chief Seelall Persaud that the CCTV camera recordings are not actively manned by the police themselves but by intelligence operatives located at the Office of the President.
According to Felix, it “does not do well for an investigation” if the police have to be running to someone else for the information. He opined that the police ought to have cameras they can access directly. “Fair enough if the government wants their cameras, but the police need their own and these should be at all the major police stations,” Felix asserted.
He told Kaieteur News that he was concerned with the location of the cameras.
“With all those cameras around the city, they have not had any recordings from them, except the one at Bourda Market, and that was privately owned. When police officer Romain Cleto was killed, none of the cameras in the area could provide proper images…robberies are being committed daily in Georgetown and the cameras don’t pick up anything. On a majority of occasions when people hear of camera recordings they end up being privately-owned. And the (Govt.-operated) cameras in the city are not positioned strategically.
On Wednesday, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said the feed was going to an organization other than the Guyana Police Force which falls under the Office of the President. 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,” the Crime Chief told the media.
“There is an effort right now to have feeds directly to the police so that we can independently research and use what evidence is collected there,” Persaud said. At present, the police can only access the feed from the cameras upon request.
The disclosure adds more fuel to the suspicions expressed by members of the opposition. The opposition had expressed concern about what is being done with the captured footage and the impact of the initiative in the local crime fight.
The disclosure also comes against the backdrop of a charge by Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee for the police to make more use of the cameras.
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