Published 15th June 2016, 10:4am
The Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) is responsible for the management and maintenance of the cameras in the National CCTV Programme, through which the authorized users of the system have access to public space CCTV video. The National CCTV Programme comprises 273 cameras at 93 different locations across Grand Cayman.
DPSC operates an Electronic Monitoring Centre (EMC) in which staff members perform passive 24/7 monitoring of the National CCTV system. The officers of the RCIPS also have 24/7 monitoring access to the National CCTV Programme via monitoring stations at the district police stations. Requests for recorded images are made to the DPSC.
The most striking finding from user interviews conducted by the CCTV Administrator is the considerable amount of time that can be saved during the investigation process due to the use of evidence found on the footage from the National CCTV system.
The effectiveness of CCTV systems has traditionally been evaluated in terms of its impact on crime. However, the National CCTV Programme has yielded other benefits including: a reduction in time spent on the investigation process, as well as information to guide the deployment of officers and increase public feelings of safety.
There is also an economic value to these benefits. Nevertheless, regardless of its potential economic value, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the National CCTV Programme is a resource that is valued highly by the police, due to the significant contributions that it makes to their work in terms of crime detection.
The presence of a National CCTV Programme in the Cayman Islands makes people feel safe, in addition to routinely detecting suspects and directing authorities to their location in a number of high profile cases.
Images captured during a June 2012 bank robbery provided the authorities with evidence of the suspects’ direction and route travelled. In May 2013 the capture of a “damage to property” incident at the junction of Frank Sound Road and Bodden Town Road, provided irrefutable evidence of the offence committed. The capability to detect suspects but also for footage to be used as evidence to strengthen prosecutions has increased support for the National CCTV Programme.
Yet there has again been some discussion in the public realm regarding allegations that the cameras of the National CCTV Programme are not effective and or have not produced quality images to support the requirements of law enforcement and public safety.
As it relates to those allegations; Between January 2015 and March 2016 the RCIPS, the primary user of the National CCTV Programme has requested and received recorded images a total of 413 times.
The data gathered from the records management system indicate that during this period investigators executed 160 arrests (38.75%) in conjunction with their use of National CCTV data. There are 119 active/ongoing investigations (23.25%) and 9 investigations have resulted in the accused persons being convicted and given custodial sentences.
CTV appears to result, not only in increased crime detection and evidence useful to the process of investigation and prosecution, but also in a wide range of other benefits beyond an impact on crime.
Director of Public Safety Communications Julian Lewis says, “These ‘extra’ benefits are highly valued by those working alongside CCTV and thus, should not be overlooked when the effectiveness of the National CCTV Programme is considered.
The below pictures illustrate a number of locations where night time video has been requested by investigators from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to assist and progress investigations of various offences.