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All police stations in Telangana to be under CCTV surveillance

The Telangana government will be bringing all 774 police stations across all districts in the State under CCTV surveillance. Although the department termed this developed as a modernisation project, it comes months after the Supreme Court, in a bid to increase police accountability, ordered governments to install police stations with night vision-equipped Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras capable of recording both video and audio.

A Rs 75 crore request for proposal (RFP) was put out on behalf of the Telangana State Police Department by the Telangana State Technology Services (TSTS) for installation of 10,330  CCTV cameras (both outdoor and indoor) at various spots in a police stations. Around two to four bidders will be selected for carrying out the work for the police department.

Each police station will have a CCTV control room and will be connected to the central command. If necessary a third party network service provider can also connect to the network. “The CCTV system should capture the live video and audio stream, store, retrieve analyze video images and audio tracks to enable surveillance and monitoring thus increase operational efficiency. The CCTV system should have the video motion detection enabled on all cameras to minimise the storage space when there is no movement in the night at each of the sites,” the RFP said.

As of now, there are already 2,416 in around 150 police stations of the State. With this, 10,330 more are going to be installed at various places in around 624 police stations.

  • Main entrance gate of police station
  • Exit gate of police station
  • In front of the premises
  • Back area
  • Men and women lockup rooms
  • Outside lockup rooms
  • Corridors/verandahs
  • Station Hall
  • Lobby
  • Outhouses
  • Inspector/SHO room
  • Sub inspector rooms
  • Duty officer room
  • Outside of washing area/toilet

The breakup of the required CCTVs have been prioritised between city, rural and urban police stations with the urban police stations receiving more allocation.

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Apart from this, the Director General of Police of Telangana is overseeing the project. The cameras at each police stations will be connected throw power-on-ethernet (PoE) and will converge at the local control room in the police station. “The CCTV system is meant for day/night viewing and recording. Applicant is responsible to provide clear night vision videos where the object is visible and clearly identified. It is in the scope of the applicant to provide extra illumination if required to enable clarity and quality of night images for object visibility,” the tender read.

Not just police stations, investigation agencies too have to be under CCTV: SC

In December while passing the order, the Supreme Court had said that apart from police stations CCTV cameras will also have to be installed at offices of Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate, Naroctics Control Bureau, Department of Revenue Intelligence, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, and any other central agency office which does interrogations and has the power to arrest people.

According to the order, CCTV cameras should be installed across a given police station, including the main gate of the police station, all lock-ups, areas outside the lock-up room, all corridors, reception, all verandas/outhouses, inspector’s room, and even outside toilets. The data captured by these cameras should be stored for a period of 18 months, the order said.

Custodial violence: A daily occurence

According to a report in the Hindu, a total of 1,731 people died in custody in India in 2019. This translates to five such deaths on a daily basis. The report titled ‘India:Annual Report on Torture 2019’ said 1,606 of the deaths happened in judicial custody and 125 in police custody. The report published by National Campaign Against Torture said, “Out of the 125 deaths in police custody, UTtar Pradesh topped with 14 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu and Punjab with 11 deaths each and Bihar with 10 deaths.”

Last year, the Telangana High Court, directed Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar to inquire into the Manthani lockup death case and file a report. The court asked the Director General of Police to take action against the errant cops based on the CP’s findings. One Seelam Rangaiah was arrested for arranging electric fencing to track wild animals was found dead in Manthani police station toilet in May 2020.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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