The 1,000-odd CCTVs dotting the city are the Delhi Police’s most well-used crime-fighting and investigation tool. Yet, the force has no way of storing the vital footage for more than 15 days.
Both the home ministry and Delhi Police have admitted, in response to an RTI application, that there is no policy for retention of CCTV footage recorded daily from more than 50 crowded markets and 17 sensitive
border check points. The recorded footage from 1,054 CCTVs — 200 of them in the sensitive VVIP enclave of New Delhi — is automatically rewritten in seven to 15 days due to “lack of storage space”.
Currently, 25 markets and two border check points relay daily CCTV feed to the C4i (Integrated Command Control Coordination and Communication Centre) at police headquarters.
Once relayed, the C4i's inadequate hardware can only retain footage on a digital space of 120TB. External hard drives are easily available in the market.
A 1TB model comes for R5,500-6,500. While the two parties are yet to come up with a solution to the hard disc shortage problem, the ministry has promised to provide the police with special, mega-pixel specification surveillance cameras at 24 markets and at least 10 more border check posts.
“Lack of statutory norm(s) gives the software operator the freedom to rewrite data beyond a certain point of time," said Deepak Mishra, special commissioner of police (operations), but refused to elaborate.
“Isn't this a matter of grave importance? What's the point of spending all this money on the CCTV infrastructure if what is recorded is allowed to become redundant," asked Aseem Takyar of Gurgaon, who filed the RTI application.