Installing CCTVs costly, will hamper probes: State police

Electronic eyes: A proposal to install 2,438 CCTVs in 1,080 police stations has been pending with the State government for the past two years.  

The Maharashtra Police have informed the State government that it would not be cost-effective to install more closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) inside police stations in the State.

In a recent meeting with the Home Department and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, senior police officials said placing interrogation rooms under further surveillance would hamper investigation. The officials said it would be difficult to install CCTVs despite clear directives from the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. “We are still deliberating on the issue and may be able to take a decision at the earliest. The police have reservations regarding cost and hurdles to the interrogation process. We are looking into it keeping in mind the court’s directive and deadline,” said a senior official of the Home Department.

A proposal to install 2,438 CCTVs in 1,080 police stations has been pending with the State government for the past two years. While some stations have CCTVs installed with help from local NGOs and associations, most of them remain non-functional and on paper, sources said. Mr. Fadnavis, however, claimed that the coverage remained 100%. “I am told our coverage is near 100% in this regard,” he told The Hindu.

Curbing custodial deaths

The Supreme Court had in a landmark judgment in 2015 directed State governments to install CCTV cameras in police stations and interrogation rooms. This directive along with the appointment of more woman constables were some of the key measures suggested by the Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and R. Banumathi to prevent custodial deaths. This was in addition to the directive issued by Bombay High Court as part of a petition filed in 2014. The objective in the judgments was to encourage inspection of the police stations and monitor custodial violence, said officials. “At the time of the SC order, the State remained a leader in custodial deaths at 15 in 2016. But that has been curtailed as part of some of the other preventive measures taken by us,” said the official.

State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar made the announcement to install CCTVs inside police stations in his budget speech in 2016. He had promised connecting them to a district control room along with a criminal tracking system.

According to a proposal submitted to the Home Department on January 27, 2015, ₹88.90 crore was set aside to install the cameras. Some cameras were installed with help from local residential associations, but about 402 remain non-functional, sources said.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 8:20:28 PM |

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