Wednesday 22 May, 2019

CCTV technology to improve policing on nation's roads - Chang

As part of efforts to make public spaces, including the nation’s streets safer, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has said that there will be greater focus on technology.

“We have laid the foundation for this initiative. In March of this year, the Ministry launched the JamaicaEye programme as a deliberate strategy to engage in a public- private partnership to utilize CCTV to monitor public spaces.

“It should be noted that this is the first comprehensive strategy to link not only cameras installed by government but to integrate these with private sector feeds. This is a transformational approach in how we execute public order,” Chang said as he made his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives recently.

 According to Chang, CCTV technology will enhance police capacity in hot spot areas and create safer public spaces. 

“We intend to employ the latest tools including licence plate and facial recognition to support our initiatives,” Chang said.

The Minister also noted that the new Road Traffic Act provides an excellent vehicle to manage public order.

“This must be done in collaboration with the Municipal Corporations, and other Government organizations, embracing the joined-up approach to the problem of public order,” said Chang.

 As the efforts to make the island’s streets safer are ramped up, Chane said the Traffic and Highway Patrol Division and the Motorized Patrol Division will be consolidated. According to the National Security Minister, this is with a view to efficiently focus on traffic management, an area of major vulnerability.

He said the newly formed Public Safety and Traffic Management Branch (PSTMB) will have primary responsibility for public safety in town centres and major roadways, starting with the Kingston Metropolitan Region and Montego Bay.

 The operation of the PSTMB will include:

- A roving response team comprising mainly of motorcycles to allow for rapid response in sufficient numbers to a situation;

- A team that concentrates primarily on breaches of public order that threaten citizens’ safety, such as vending outside of designated areas;

- A team that focuses on illegal occupation of public space; and

- A team that focuses on safety along the major thoroughfares.

Chang told the House that this public education campaign will have an anti-violence message “as we aggressively pursue our public order and public safety agenda.”

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