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(TCI WEEKLY NEWS) – More than 100 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been acquired by the Government, 11 of which are already installed and working around Providenciales.
On Tuesday (July 31), members of the press were invited to an official unveiling of the new facility that will house the surveillance system at the Digicel Headquarters on Leeward Highway in Providenciales.
That facility, which is nearing completion, also doubles as the 911 call centre with the operators and a police officer monitoring all of the equipment.
The new high definition and high-resolution cameras will be going up at 50 different locations around Providenciales that have already been identified by the police force.
Those locations are located in Leeward Highway, Blue Hills, Kew Town, Five Cays, North West Point, Down Town, Grace Bay, Long Bay, Millennium Highway, Venetian Road and Chalk Sound
The cameras will transmit images in real time back to the 911 Control Room where they will be monitored and used when incidents are reported in a specific area.
They will also transmit data to a secured storage location and the recordings will be kept for a period of time, in case the recordings are requested by police for review.
The centre will operate within stringent security measures and access will be strictly controlled and limited only to qualified and authorised members.
Commissioner of Police James Smith said that the installation of the CCTV cameras augments and strengthens the force’s continued community mobilisation and partnerships against crime.
The commissioner also acknowledged Stan Hartling, Mark Durliat and others in the private sector who worked to make the project a reality.
“These are not just for looking at incidences, these cameras are programmable, they are searchable, there are so many things that we can do with this technology.
“So, we have transformed it from being just closed circuit televisions to a joint 911 and CCTV control room.
“We will be placing an officer providing 24/7 oversight to what happens throughout the country, not just in Provo.”
In addition to monitoring calls as they come in, the 911 operators will also oversee these CCTV cameras and put in place measures to prevent things from happening or to react quickly when they do.
“This is a big deal for us, this is a fundamental change in the security of the country and of course Provo is just the first step,” Smith said.
He added that the Government has funded not only these CCTV cameras, but there are also plans for more cameras for the second phase of the programme which will entail Grand Turk and eventually North and South Caicos.
The commissioner said that there are also plans to put in place the automatic plate technology – this will be a camera that focuses and can easily pick up the number plate of a vehicle.
This is part of a bigger plans for the department which the Government is now looking to complement the existing CCTV technology, the commissioner said.
Digicel Turks and Caicos won the contract to install and maintain the 105 cameras on Providenciales.
The contract also covers equipment, video management software, all of the servers and storage devices, and the outfitting of the command and control centre.
Digicel CEO Addison Stoddard stated: “We’re really excited to work in collaboration with the Government, with the police department and of course all the other stakeholders and to see this through.
“I think it is of the utmost interest for all of us the security of the Turks and Caicos Islands and to our main industry which is tourism.
“There are so many things that can happen, and where we can go from here is endless.”
Governor John Freeman remarked that the occasion is definitely one of celebration for the Government, the private sector and the police force.
“Modern policing requires three key ingredients – the human factor, the technical factor and the community factor.
“Without the human factor, our well trained committed police officers under effective leadership nothing would be possible…without the technical factor a police force is hobbled from facing down the criminals and would-be criminals…without the community factor a police force can never deliver optimally.”
The governor also commended Commissioner Smith for his able leadership of the force, the work that the Government has done to ensure that the force is properly outfitted and the community support of citizens and the local business community.
A combined $800,000 has so far been spent on the CCTV project and the establishment of the necessary infrastructure for the 911 Centre by the Government and private sponsors which raised funds through a national crime prevention programme.
That programme is spearheaded by Stan Hartling of the Hartling Group, Mark Durliat, CEO and owner of Grace Bay Resorts, Galmo Williams of the Wine Cellar and Carl Simmons of Tropical Shipping.
During his remarks Hartling expressed sincere thanks to the private sector partners who answered the call by NCP board to be a part of the territory’s protection and crime prevention.
The full CCTV system and 911 Centre is expected to go live by August 31, 2018.