In a shocking admission, the Guyana Police Force on Wednesday said it does not monitor or have regular access to video recordings being obtained by several security Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras that have been set up in several parts of the city.
Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell and Crime Chief, Seelall Persaud at a midday press conference revealed that it is the Office of the President that has access to the video recordings and footage of the cameras and the Police Force would only be provided with recordings if it makes a request.
Commissioner Leroy Brumell told the news conference that he does not even know whether all of the cameras are working. “I cannot say if all of the cameras are working”, the Commissioner said.
Deputy Police Commissioner and Crime Chief Seelall Persaud explained to the media that as far as he knows, when it comes to the security cameras across the city, “the feed is going to an organisation other than the Police Force but there are efforts in place now to give the Police Force a feed”.
When pressed by News Source about the “organisation” that may have access to the video feed of the CCTV cameras, Mr. Seelall said the organisation “falls under the Office of the President and I think it’s an organisation in the making”. He said the Guyana Police Force does not have independent access to the cameras and would only be granted access by request.
The revelations by the Guyana Police Force explains why the Force has not depended heavily on the cameras or video recordings that may have been obtained from them. The Crime Chief did not say what requests were made and whether those requests have aided the Guyana Police Force in its crime fighting tactics.
The Government of Guyana began setting up the CCTV cameras back in 2011 in the run up to the General and Regional Elections.
During that period when reports surfaced that some billboards of the People’s Progressive Party were being vandalized, Government Minister and PPP Campaign Manager Robert Persaud told the media that the CCTV cameras had obtained footage of the “destruction” of the billboards.
The footage that Persaud claimed was recorded and that he had seen, was never released or handed over to the Police.
There have been a number of high-profile crimes that took place close to areas where the CCTV cameras are present. Most of those cases remain unsolved and the Guyana Police Force has never explained whether the cameras were of any help.
Just on Monday, a robbery took place at the Vlissengen Road Rubis gas station. Three of the CCTV cameras are located just in front of that business place, yet there has been no statement from the Police about whether or not those cameras would have recorded the gunmen entering of leaving the service station.
The Guyana Police Force has come under criticism from the business community for the surge in gun crimes and robberies over the past few weeks. The Police Force has updated a crime fighting strategy that it hopes will be able to deter criminals. The Force is however, advising business owners to become more “conscious” of the security situation in the country.
(Filed: 17th July, 2013)