Tuesday April 16, 2024

Peshawar needs CCTV cameras for improved law & order

By Javed Aziz Khan
December 06, 2022

PESHAWAR: A relatively small project to install a couple of hundred closed-circuit television cameras can help secure the provincial capital from terrorist and criminal attacks at a time when the government lacks resources for the Safe City Project pending for 13 years.

The CCTV cameras are needed at all the key points of Peshawar and other major towns after the recent wave of terrorist attacks as well as an alarming increase in street crimes.

“Installation of CCTV cameras at all the entry and exit points to Peshawar and other districts, public places, main trade centers, offices, townships, offices and any important place in urban and rural areas can help protect the lives and properties of the people from terrorists and criminals,” said a source. He added that most of the cases have been worked out recently with the help of technology, especially CCTV cameras.

The serial killer and rapist of children, a number of extortionists, killers, robbers, snatchers and many others involved in different kinds of crimes and terrorism incidents were held mostly through CCTV footage in the last few years.

“Not only do the CCTV cameras help identify the culprits after any crime but also help monitor an area to keep a check on any suspicious movement to thwart any criminal or terrorist bid,” said a source.

He added that since the government lacks funds for the mega project, instant and solid measures should be taken by the authorities and police to install a few hundred CCTVs at the much-needed places in Peshawar that will cost hardly a few percent of the amount required for the Safe City Project. He said the same should be done in all the districts where the law and order situation needed to be improved.

It was suggested that the amount should be spent directly, with proper accountability by the relevant departments, so that all the fund is spent on the project and not the major share is misused by the contractors or anyone else like what happens in most of the projects.

The community can also be encouraged in Peshawar and all other districts to install CCTV cameras in their streets, villages, markets, offices, buildings and other places which can be connected to the main system or work independently to help police in maintaining law and order.

The capital city authorities recently introduced a few solar-powered CCTV cameras that are monitored remotely from the offices of senior cops via the internet. However, very few cameras cannot serve the purpose in such a major city.

A huge amount was recently allocated in the annual budget for Safe City Project. The scheme has become a white elephant that cost millions of rupees from the exchequer every year since 2009.

An office with senior officers had been set up for the project for the last many years. However, due to a lack of interest and wrangling between the government departments, no significant practical work has been done so far to secure Peshawar through technology.

Under the project, initially over 6000 CCTV cameras were proposed to be installed at over 850 points across the provincial capital. These would be monitored by the senior officers live as well as from a central command system for keeping a check on law and order and to improve the treatment of the cops with the public.

Innumerable meetings have been held and millions have been spent on the theoretical work every month for the last 13 years. However, no practical work was done on a project that was much needed in the years when the city was worst hit by terrorism. The situation deteriorating for the last many months now need one such project again.

The authorities have planned to launch Phase-1 of the Safe City Project from Hayatabad for which work has been done.

The project for the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an example of how the government and its departments deal with some of the important projects for the security and welfare of the public.

Poor handling by the previous and present governments as well as wrangling between different government departments are among the causes of no practical work on the project in such a long time.

The Safe City projects were proposed for Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad at the same time. These have already been completed in Islamabad and Lahore years back. A special Safe Cities Authority was set up in Punjab in 2015.