A public network of CCTV cameras is being installed covering key locations around Gibraltar with a view to deterring and detecting crime. The move will be welcomed by members of the Chamber of Commerce, which had been calling for the cameras for many months.
A Chamber survey last July found overwhelming support for CCTV among its members.
The survey found that 90% of the 83 respondents said they were in favour of having CCTV in an around pedestrian areas of Main Street. Only seven per cent of respondents voted against.
Experience from the UK suggests that CCTV can work both as a deterrent and as a useful tool in detecting crime and arresting offenders.
Many private businesses already have CCTV installed and footage is regularly used by the Royal Gibraltar Police to investigate crimes and secure convictions.
But the new system currently being installed will be the first publicly-funded network of cameras available to the RGP, which will be in charge of monitoring and controlling their use.
The main area of coverage will be in and around Casemates Square, but cameras will also be installed in other parts of the Old Town and the town centre.
They will help to tackle anti-social behaviour, which repeated surveys have shown to be one of the main policing issues of concern to the community.
The network is being installed at a cost of £125,000 and includes a control room which is currently being set up in Central Police Station but which may be moved to police headquarters at New Mole House.
In installing the cameras, care will be taken to ensure privacy is respected. Any private residence that is in the cameras’ field of view, for example, will be masked out using special software.
Likewise the use of the cameras must comply with the Data Protection Act and 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 cameras will be installed in locations ranging from Casemates Square, Market Place, Waterport Road and the area of Landport Tunnel.
Others will be installed in the town centre, including Bell Lane, Engineer Lane, Castle Steps, Irish Town and Governor’s Street.
The camera arrays are high profile and are clearly aimed at deterring offenders as well as collecting evidence of crime.