CCTVs on the blink affect police

Every Day, 50-80 Units Require Maintenance
The presence of 1,230 closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) at public places may give you an impression that every nook and corner of the city has been secured, but the fact is that every day about 50 to 80 cameras remain non-functional for a varied reasons.Potholes, illegal digging of roads and random tree cutting and some of the important factors responsible for the cameras to fail. The state home department had installed the CCTVs after the German Bakery and Faraskhana bomb blasts in the city .

Maintenance is cited as an important cause. Police commissioner Rashmi Shukla has decided to monitor the issue on a day to day basis. “Earlier, about 200 cameras would remain shut for maintenance every day . Now, I have brought the number down to 20 or 25,“ Shukla told TOI. The 1,230-odd cameras monitor prominent junctions, roads and streets that lead to vital installations located in different parts of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.

The control room is located in the Pune police commissioner’s office and a staff of about 20 officers keeps an eye on the screens 24X7. The city traffic police too use the CCTV footage to book traffic offenders. Besides, any crime spotted on camera is reported to the ground staff. A senior police officer said that cameras cannot stop a crime, but they generate vital evidence which can be used in the court to achieve conviction. “Also, many crimes can be averted with prompt police action,“ the officer said.

On Thursday , TOI came to know from a senior police official that about 61 cameras were not functioning on that day .

Shukla said that some cameras were not functioning due to illegal road digging while recent rains had caused damage to some more cameras. “We are executing repair and maintenance work every day ,“ she said.

At times, tree branches fall on camera wires and disrupt rely of signals to the control room. A senior officer said that at times, illegal tree cutting too causes damage.

Dust and pollution are the other factors that affect the functioning of CCTV cameras in the city.

The drive to install CCTV cameras all over the city gained momentum after the 2010 German Bakery blast in which 17 people were killed and about 60 escaped with injuries. Similarly , an IED explosion outside the building housing Faraskhana and Vishrambaug police stations in 2014 put the police on guard.

After the two incidents, the state home department started installing CCTVs in the city and the work to install 1,230 cameras concluded in August last year.

Source : TOI