The latest BPRD report titled ‘Data on Police Organisations’ reveals that a total of 4.27 lakh CCTV cameras are available to the police across the country of which Telangana police alone accounts for 64%. Here is the detailed story.
The annual flagship publication, ‘Data on Police Organisations as on 1 January 2019,’ of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) was released by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on 29 January 2020. The report contains all the statistics with respect to manpower, infrastructure, and resources of State Police and Central Armed Police Forces in the country by compiling data provided by each state and union territory. The first such report was published by the bureau in 1986. Since 2016, the number of CCTVs installed by police has also been mentioned in the report.
CCTV or Closed-Circuit Television allows continuous monitoring of any area through video surveillance. CCTVs not only help in nabbing criminals, but in also help preventing crimes and deter the occurrence of crimes.
Justice Usha Mehra Commission recommended installation of CCTV cameras in public places
Following the 2012 gruesome Nirbhaya incident in the national capital, the Justice Usha Mehra Commission recommended a slew of measures to bolster women safety in the country. Installation of operational CCTV cameras at public places was one of them. The Commission also recommended that CCTV cameras be installed in PCR Vans and police stations in addition to public places and public transport.
The Action Taken Report of the recommendations made by the Usha Mehra Commission released in 2013, stated that the government had given approval for installation of 5312 CCTV cameras in Delhi. 2677 of them were installed at vital locations including the Supreme Court, High Court, and busy marketplaces by ECIL.
In 2017, the High Court of Delhi directed the Delhi Police to install CCTV cameras in vulnerable areas, following which, 10 CCTV cameras each were installed in 10 police stations. The same was to be carried out for remaining 182 police stations, according to a Lok Sabha answer in January 2018.
Nirbhaya Funds framework stresses on real-time monitoring of CCTV footage
As per the framework for Nirbhaya Fund, setup in the aftermath of the Delhi incident, CCTV should not only be used for recording events or incidents but there should be real-time monitoring of the footage and quick response. However, the placement of CCTV should be such that it does not compromise the privacy of women. Even the video that is recorded should be protected as per the framework. The Ministry of Railways has also initiated installation of CCTV cameras in 983 railway stations and train coaches for which funding is partly using the Nirbhaya Fund, as per a Lok Sabha answer in June 2019.
MHA stated in Lok Sabha in 2014 that a national policy for installing CCTVs was not required
Back in 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated in the parliament that a national policy was not required for using CCTV recording at public places. It was further stated that private entities installed CCTV cameras voluntarily or on the directions of police. The government also maintained that this would not intrude into the privacy of people since it will be used in the surveillance of public places. Any person who wants to see their own recording could do so upon requesting the concerned agency. A copy of the response was also posted in the MHA’s Facebook page.
4.27 Lakh CCTV cameras used by police in India as per BPRD report
As on 01 January 2019, more than 4.27 Lakh CCTV cameras were available with the Police across the country. It has to be noted that this is the number of CCTV cameras available with the police and not the total number of CCTV cameras in the state.
Compared to 2016, the number of CCTV cameras in the country has increased exponentially from a mere 24,483 to 4.27 lakhs in 2019. This is an increase of 17.5 times in four years. The following chart depicts the number of CCTV cameras available with the police as on the first of January of each year. Usually, the governments release tenders for installation, maintenance and operation of these CCTV cameras available with the police.
Telangana reported more than 64% of the CCTV used by police in India
In 2019, of the total 4.27 Lakh CCTV cameras used by the police in the country, more than 2.75 Lakh cameras or 64.4% of the total, were installed in Telangana. Bigger states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh are next in line with more than 10,000 CCTV cameras. The states with more than 1000 CCTV cameras available with the police are represented in the following chart. These 12 states alone account for 98% of the CCTV cameras available with the police across the country.
Public Safety Act in certain states makes it mandatory for establishments to install CCTV cameras
Andhra Pradesh Public Safety (Measures) Enforcement Act, 2013, which is applicable to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, makes it mandatory for all establishments to have 24*7 CCTV cameras with 30 days storage facility, and also have an employee who is trained to operate it. Establishments have been defined as places where there are a large number of people with a possibility of more than 100 people gathering such as workspace, industries, religious places and others. Even Commissioners of Police and Superintendents of Police in both states are bound to develop special wings with experts in operating electronic devices.
Telangana government implements various projects for installing CCTV in Hyderabad
The Government of Telangana, in order to deal with safety and security issues in the capital city of Hyderabad, the Police Department initiated various projects such as City Wide Safe City Project, Community CCTV project, and ‘Nenu Saitham’ project. Through these projects, the police encourage individuals, residential and business communities to install CCTV cameras in perimeters, lobbies, common area, corridors, entrances, and exits and also cover around 50 metres of the building’s premises. The police also claim that the crimes in the city have gone down by an average of 16% year on year post the implementation of the City-Wide Community CCTV project. Reports even suggest that in the recent Disha rape case in Hyderabad, CCTV footage helped police track the criminals within 48 hours.
Delhi government has also stressed on CCTV installation across the state
In Delhi, the AAP Government began its flagship CCTV project with an aim of installing 1.5 Lakh CCTV cameras across Delhi, mainly in residential areas. The project was inaugurated in July 2019 to ensure safety and security of the citizens.
Similar to Telangana’s CCTV Project, the Delhi Police also initiated the ‘Nigehban’ scheme through which sensitive areas that require CCTVs were mapped and individuals and welfare associations in such spots pooled in resources. By the end of 2018, there were around 2.23 lakh CCTV cameras installed under this scheme.
Centre provides funds for Modernization of State Police
‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are state subjects under the seventh schedule to the Indian Constitution. Thus, strengthening police surveillance and infrastructure also fall under the state’s purview. However, the Central Government provides assistance to states to improve their police infrastructure through various schemes. One such scheme is ‘Modernisation of Police Force’ under which central assistance is provided for procuring weaponry and surveillance equipment including CCTV systems, Night Vision Devices and body-worn cameras.
Financial assistance on 90:10 Centre-State sharing basis is provided to Himalayan States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and the eight North-Eastern states and for the rest of the states the Centre-State Ratio is 60:40.
Featured Image: Data on Police Organisations