CIDCO is currently in process of installing a CCTV network for the city of Navi Mumbai. The purpose, as with any public CCTV network, is to enhance the ability of Police to make the city safer through continuous watch of public places and deliver a quicker and more informed response to situations. Navi Mumbai has an existing CCTV network for its municipal areas since 2012, but the rest of the areas which are known as CIDCO areas, though highly urbanised, were not covered in the earlier implementation.
An interesting and unique feature of the current project is ‘ Collaborative Monitoring’ http://www.cidco.maharashtra.gov.in/pdf/CCTV_Systems_in_Navi%20Mumbai.pdf. Taking the city as a unit, this collaborative framework proposes to standardise on the open source platform, the public and private surveillance technologies and also keep them latently connected. In the event of an incident, the latency can be activated and information from the spot can seamlessly flow into the law enforcement network so that response is informed, quick and therefore effective.
A partnership with local residents, businesses and institutions, through this collaboration mechanism, will mutually contribute to improving the city’s security. Most importantly, the wastages due to the silos of public and private infrastructure or due to non-communicability of systems because of lack of predetermined standards, is sought to be overcome, for improving the safety of citizens.
The collaborative model will connect only the larger public establishments or housing societies with the police network. But even where no connectivity to the Police CCTV network is contemplated, certain standardisations are being sought voluntarily from the owners of such installed systems, on minimum storage and camera standards, so that even these private systems can be useful evidence in police investigations.
The mutually agreed Code of Practice was evolved after consultative meetings with the possible participants of this collaboration. This Code is critical to the framework of this collaboration since it lays down the do’s, don’t’s and the boundaries of privacy which cannot be crossed by all participants, including the Police.
I think it is important to have a mindset of collaboration and cutting out silos to maximise public benefits in security projects.