Thursday, 26 May 2011

CCTV plans go ahead

GIBRALTAR (GibChronicle/Brian Reyes) A network of CCTV cameras will be installed in strategic areas of Gibraltar in order to help deter and detect crime. The cameras will be monitored and controlled by the Royal Gibraltar Police from its headquarters at New Mole House. The RGP, in consultation with the Ministry of Justice and the Data Protection Commissioner, has drawn up a Code of Conduct for the use of the cameras and the storage of footage. The Code aims to address any concerns about privacy. “The use of CCTV cameras raises a number of important civil rights issues, which the Government has had to carefully consider before it introduced this scheme,” said Justice Minister Daniel Feetham.>The Government has had to balance those rights with the benefits that the introduction of CCTV brings to bear on the detection of crime and as a deterrence of criminal conduct.”
“We have however attempted to strike that balance by putting safeguards in place to prevent abuse or intrusion into private rights, and by ensuring we introduce the cameras in areas where we have been advised are necessary.”

Many private businesses in Gibraltar already have CCTV installed and the police often use their footage to solve crimes.

But this will be the first time that an extensive, publicly-funded system will be put in place and made available to the RGP.

The locations to be monitored were selected in consultation with the RGP, which analysed crime trends in Gibraltar and studied the different types of offences that were being committed in each site.

The initial sites to be monitored by CCTV include:

• Casemates Square;

• Market Place;

• Castle Street and the junction of Bell Lane and Engineer Lane;

• Governors Street at the junction with Prince Edward’s Road;

• Irish Town, southern end;

Waterport Road.

The Ministry said there had been concerns about anti-social behaviour in some of these areas, while in others cameras were deemed necessary for the purposes of detection and deterrence of crime.

In some cases, the decision to install CCTV was made after representations were received from residents in the area.

The images from the cameras will be relayed to Central and New Mole House Police Stations in Real Time.

The cameras used will be both static and PTZ cameras, which can be rotated.

“Care has been taken to ensure that private dwelling houses have been blanked from the scope of any cameras in order to ensure there is no invasion of privacy,” the Ministry said in a statement announcing the move.

Mr Feetham said the introduction of CCTV cameras would, together with other legislative initiatives, help to tackle anti-social behaviour, which repeated surveys have shown to be one of the main policing issues of concern to the community.

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