The plan to integrate all closed circuit television (CCTV) camera networks in the city had come up in September last year after home minister RR Patil and senior police officers visited London.
Taking it a step forward, the police have now decided to make it mandatory for private institutions to store the video recording for a designated period of time.
Former cops, lawyers and experts have welcomed this move, saying that CCTV footage has high evidential value as per the Indian Evidence Act.
The hotel licensing rules fall under Section 33 of the Bombay Police Act. However, these rules do not have any guidelines about maintaining CCTV footage, experts said.
MN Singh, former commissioner of police, said, “I think this should be an essential condition under licensing rules for all commercial establishments, including hotels, malls, among other places. But the police should make sure that the time limit is appropriately prescribed or it will result in logistical problems.” The police had relied heavily on CCTV footage during the 2008 terrorist attacks and 13/7 serial blasts in the city.
“If you consider the 26/11 attacks, conviction was sustained on the basis of CCTV footage,” said YP Singh, lawyer and former IPS officer. “It is time that licensing rules are amended and this clause is included which makes it mandatory for private institutions to save the footage for a certain amount of time.” Experts said that apart from amending the rules, it was necessary to issue technical specifications so that the quality of the footage is not compromised. “CCTV footage has an extremely high evidential value since the incident is recorded in its natural course and there is no scope to manipulate the act,” said Singh.