Jan 15, 2016 News
– link to boost crime fight, traffic control capabilities
Crime fighting locally has received a technological boost through the connection of a
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) live feed from the Demerara Harbour Bridge to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters.
The connection valued at $3M was yesterday officially introduced to media operatives via a simple ceremony in the CCTV Room at CID Headquarters, Eve Leary.
Superintendent Brian Eastman demonstrated three of the many capabilities of the software. He said that the CCTV feed can be used to extract a snapshot from a live feed in real time. This would show the occupants of the vehicle, the registration, and the description of the vehicle.
Eastman added that through the feed, technical ranks would be used to assess playback of the operations. It will also be used to monitor traffic build-up on the eastern and western ends of the bridge.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum said that the assistance received through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to have live feed access to the cameras that are strategically placed on the Demerara Harbour Bridge cannot be understated. He stressed that the police force, via the feed, now has direct access before and during crossings on the bridge.
The CID has already been utilising the feed and Crime Chief Blanhum said, “We have had a number of successes. Recently we had a murder that occurred on the Demerara Harbour Bridge (and) we were able to quickly access that image and extract it and we are still pursuing the suspect.”
Additionally, he said that traffic ranks are on the ground who will be directed as is necessary to treat with the situations as they occur, by funneling information to the respective division commanders. The force, Blanhum said, has been utilising the initiative to its optimum with the hope for continued partnership with the Minister’s office.
“This assistance from the Bridge, and by extension the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, might appear to be simple, but it is very onerous for us,” said Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud.
Noting the significance for crime fighting in Guyana, Persaud said in the past, whenever information was needed or some intelligence suggested, the force contacted Bridge General Manager, Rawlston Adams, or his staff, for a search to be carried out. These searches often resulted in video being downloaded as evidence. He said that the bridge no longer has to take away from its operations to do that.
“It helps us tremendously. We are very, very grateful for the additional assistance that is provided there. Now it’s our own staff on a fulltime basis and we don’t have to bother Mr. Adams, asking him to redirect staff efforts, and our ranks could spend as much time as they need to,” Persaud said.
Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson said that upon assuming office he was briefed about the ongoing collaborations with the Demerara Harbour Bridge and the police force.
“I don’t think a lot of people were aware of the effort that the Harbour Bridge played in crime fighting previously. It wasn’t highlighted and brought to the fore earlier on, because you don’t want to jeopardize the security of the staff at the Demerara Harbour Bridge.”
He said that criminal elements, now realizing that they are being monitored or recorded, could have proven to be a security risk to the staff there.
In addition to the feed from the Harbour Bridge, there is an ongoing Smart City initiative that is being monitored from live feeds of other strategically-placed CCTV cameras in sections of the city to aid in crime detection.
“It is time that we move forward as a country. We as a ministry have to do our part and I do know that we will, if needed, be willing to do whatever it is. I know GPL has options to provide information to the police by allowing our electrical lines to carry data.”
While commending the police force, Minister Patterson offered encouragement for making strides in curbing what was at one time quite a worry for his administration, with special mention of Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum for the recent rate of convictions and the methods of investigation.
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