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Safety first: You can now help govt keep an eye on your city

Housing societies, shops, hospitals to be roped in for better policing

mumbai Updated: Oct 02, 2016 00:36 IST
Surendra P Gangan

With 4,717 CCTV cameras to go live in the city from Sunday, the state government’s home department has now decided to rope in private establishments and cooperative housing societies by integrating their security cameras with the city’s network for better policing.

The establishments will have to install the cameras outside their premises and provide video feeds as and when required by the police .

The much-delayed CCTV surveillance network with 4,717 cameras at 1,510 locations will be inaugurated by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday. Besides an investment of Rs949 crore into the high-end mechanism for effective surveillance, the government has also decided to put the onus on private establishments through its Voluntary Code of Practice (VCoP).

Smaller establishments such as shops, schools, hospitals, IT firms, temples, mosques and housing societies will now have to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) chalked out under VCoP. It specifies the standard technical specifications of the mechanisms to be established, the duration of the preservation of the feed, and the people to be contacted from both sides.

“ The feeds will be monitored on an ‘as and when required’ basis. Even now, the police do take help of establishments around the scene of crime for CCTV feeds, but through VCoP, it will be more structured ,” said an official from the home department. “We will push for installation of more cameras outside the premises of the establishments as it will prove vital in external security. We will not emphasize on the feed of cameras inside, to protect privacy of the establishments.”

The official said that though the physical integration of the CCTV network of the establishments with the control and command rooms of the police is not possible at the initial stage, it could be thought of at a later stage. He said the government was also tapping the idea of making it compulsory by tweaking the civic laws that govern the housing societies in the city.

The police have launched VCoP at Navi Mumbai and Pune amid good response.

Before the initiative is launched for smaller establishments, the government has already identified 102 big players –including malls, corporate houses, central agencies, star hotels - in the city for sharing CCTV feeds .

“We will ink agreements with them by chalking out the SOP to maintain the clarity. This monitoring and exchange will be done in case of need and with prior permissions. For the exchange of feed, verbal communication from higher authorities from both the sides will be made mandatory to avoid misuse and violation of privacy norms ,” a highly-placed home department official said.