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CCTV playing greater role in policing

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2015 | 1:16 PMAndrew Harris
Clifford Blake
Susan Goffe

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake, closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera systems are very effective tools used to aid in policing.

"I would recommend these for any public place," said Blake.

Recently, the Jamaica National Building Society donated six CCTV systems to improve the security surveillance of the Spanish Town Market and bus park, which had Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott feeling hopeful that crime and violence levels would continue to decrease in that area.

Spanish Town has joined both Montego Bay and Ochio Rios, which already have these systems in place, in certain public areas.

"These cameras are being actively used in law enforcement all over the world, and this is something we are actively embarking on," Blake noted.

He shared that these cameras are monitored 24/7, and in recent times, they have assisted the police by providing evidence in a court case, and helped to recover a stolen car just a few months ago.

"More and more, we are seeing how this has become a very useful tool in our operations," he added. "These cameras should be installed all over the island, in public spaces and violence-prone communities."

widely used across the world

The CCTV systems are widely used across the world in law enforcement, mostly at traffic lights and in crime and violence-prone neighbourhoods. The systems are able to provide clear and effective video footage of all the activities that are captured.

However, there are some privacy concerns with the increase of security surveillance in public spaces.

"Seeing that the cameras are being installed in public space, then the privacy concerns are more limited, but there are still concerns to be taken into consideration, such as the placement of the cameras and what they are taping or looking to tape. They must clearly be in a public space and must not overlap into any private domain," said Susan Goffe, human-rights advocate.

"It also should be clear that whatever is being recorded is in law and that they are not capturing audio that would otherwise need court permission. I think that it is also important as it concerns the persons who have access to the footage that has been captured," she said.