Tapping tech for smart policing

By: | Published: February 29, 2016 12:14 AM

With a community CCTV project, the Hyderabad City Police is looking to improve overall security, safety and friendly policing in the city

In her famous work, Participation and Democratic Theory, Carole Pateman, the renowned feminist and political theorist, advocated a greater role for common people in democratic self-rule. She argued that development projects are more effective when beneficiaries have a role in the way projects are chosen, planned, implemented, and evaluated. Giving citizen a part in initiatives designed for their benefit is considered to be an ideal way to ensure sustainability and success of any project. And that is what Hyderabad City Police seems to be doing with its recently launched IP-based video surveillance project through community participation programme.

With this community CCTV programme, the Hyderabad City Police is encouraging enterprises, public sector units, resident welfare associations and individuals to buy CCTV system from government empanelled firms and integrate it with nearest police stations and to the central command centre to track, monitor and analyse the video feed for detecting criminal activities, traffic violations, road conditions etc. According to the project, an entity or individual will buy CCTV syste m that will cover premises entry, exit and parking areas to the extent of 50 yards on the road, and the back-end connectivity will be provided by Telangana government.

Senior government officials who are involved in this project say that the basic aim is to enhance safety and security of the citizens by ensuring their participation at different level of this project and ultimately, make the city an attractive destination for FDI. “As you know, we have been taking many steps to improve overall security and safety through friendly policing in the city but this project is quite unique in a sense that now people will own this project and play a defining role at different stage of the programme,” M Mahendar Reddy, commissioner of police, Hyderabad City told FE.

In order to ensure people’s participation, the government has enacted the TS Public Safety (Measures) Enforcement Act, 2013 with the provision of expanding citizens participation in creating larger footprint of IP-based video surveillance systems throughout the city by covering entry exit and parking areas to the extent of 50 yards on the road.

It is a marathon task to cover the entire city with installation of a CCTV system, maintaining the quality, competitive pricing  and servicing the system without having proper governance structure in place. Therefore, an open tender for the appointment of solution providers was floated to design, supply, install, test and maintain the CCTV system for five years with an on-site comprehensive warranty. According to officials, the objective of the tender was to select the qualitative bidders who satisfy the stringent quality standards, acquire cutting-edge technologies and standard process and procedures with an operating governance structure. Selection was done based on the open tender process by evaluating the organisation capabilities, technical competencies and price competitiveness.

In fact, the bidders prices were rate contracted to make an offer to the community for installation of CCTV systems. Since, CCTV systems are costly, therefore government is also encouraging citizens to form community groups throughout the city in their respective neighbourhood to share the cost burden of every member in the community.

It is not Hyderabad City Police alone which is focusing on CCTV surveillance; Surat has also created a state-of-the-art real-time CCTV surveillance network. Maharashtra has recently launched pan-Mumbai surveillance project which envisages to install 6,000 CCTV cameras in Greater Mumbai at the cost of R949 crore by mid-2016.

However, the engagement of the citizen is unique to the project of Hyderabad City Police as it has never been successfully attempted in the past.

So far, over 200 groups have been formed and 4 ,000 cameras have been installed; according to the officials, it is exponentially growing. “The end target is to achieve around one lakh cameras to cover every-inch of the city in order to build a safe and secured city and enhancement of living standards,” states Reddy.

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