Bengaluru: Forty-two police stations have been fitted with CCTVS – a total of over 150 cameras that come with a separate IP address and logins for each station. This is the Bangalore Political Action Committee's ambitious project of bringing transparency into the policing system and it will be another year before every station is fitted with surveillance equipment.
“The idea took seed during the Frazer Town rape case in mid-2014,” said BPAC CEO Revathy Ashok. “There was talk that evidence had been tampered with. Of course, there are many reverse cases as well, when police are accused of malpractice when there is none. Our aim is simple – to let the truth be known.” The anticipated cost of the project is over Rs 1 crore at Rs 1 lakh per station on an average.
The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Bengaluru city police, who have pulled out all the stops to ensure that things go smoothly. Typically, each station gets three cameras – in the courtyard, near the FIR table and near the lockup room, explained Mr Parthasarathy, the Chief Technology Officer, BPAC. "We have used two varieties – dome and bullet cameras." The analog cameras can record black and white footage even if there is no light and all of them come with inbuilt mics. "Each station has been given 2 TB of space, which can typically take about 21 days of recording," he explained. The cameras are also motion sensitive, which ensures that storage space is not wasted. "After three weeks, old data will be re-written," he said.
"The control room, which is in the Commissioner's office, can access any of the police stations by using the login, so all they need is an internet connection," said Mr Parthasarathy. BPAC has also worked on enabling access through smartphones, making things easier even for ACPs and DCPs who oversee more than one station. The list of police stations which got the green light was sent from the Commissioner's office before BPAC got to work. "We take care of everything, from choosing equipment to overseeing the installation," said Ashok. "We need a good internet connection, but most stations have wi-fi already, so we didn't need to worry about that." When all 104 police stations have been fitted with cameras, BPAC is also planning on setting up a video wall inside the main control room. "This project is not to be confused with the street-surveillance, which the Bengaluru police are currently also doing," said Ram Nivas Sepat, DCP (Admin). "For this, cameras are being fitted at junctions for prevention of crime."
Police stations including Ashoknagar, High Grounds, Cubbon Park, Vidhana Soudha, Shivajinagar, Old Airport Road, Sadashivnagar, Hebbal, Halasuru Gate and Hebbal are complete. The full list of stations has been released in an email from BPAC and the project has been highly touted by the top brass of the police force.