RAWALPINDI: In order to ensure that station house officers (SHOs) are available in their offices to attend public complaints for two hours daily, the inspector general of police has directed their online monitoring through close circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

The CCTV cameras will be installed in offices of all the SHOs and made operational by Feb 1. They will be activated only for two hours daily during which the SHOs would listen to public complaints in their offices.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) information technology Zulfiqar Hameed told divisional police chiefs across the province that the SHOs must attend the public at least for two hours daily.

The DIG fixed pubic hours for the SHOs from 3pm to 5pm in the winter and from 4pm to 6pm in the summer.

CCTV cameras have already been operational in the front desks of all police stations across Punjab. Normally, a digital video recorder (DVR) of a CCTV has four ports for four cameras. However, only one port is in use in most of the police stations. The other ports can be utilised for one more camera.

The cost of a normal CCTV camera of 1MP (mega pixel) is around Rs1,250. A new camera in the SHO office can be dovetailed in the already existing system of the front desks, the DIG said.

He added that it was a cost effective monitoring solution and would enhance public confidence, reduce propensity of the public to reach higher offices and resolve their grievances at the local level.

In November last year, City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan had directed the subdivisional police officers and SHOs to install CCTV cameras in their respective police stations.

The move came about after the CPO during an inspection of police stations found them without CCTV cameras. A majority of those installed in some police stations were not functional.

According to the directive, three CCTV cameras - one each at the main entry gate, inside the lock-up and in the office of muharar - were to be installed in each police station.

In almost all the police stations in the rural areas, there are no CCTV cameras. However, in some police stations in the urban areas and those declared as model police stations, surveillance cameras have been installed in the police lock-up, muharar office and at the entry gate.

When asked if the CCTV cameras could help check crime and improve police working and who would pay its installation cost, a police official said: “Surveillance is a game changer and helps the police bring down street crime. It is also useful in the investigation of cases.”

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2019