Peshawar: An ambitious plan to secure the provincial capital Peshawar from the threat of terrorism through CCTV camera has hit a snag half way through, with no progress on its since 2013 when it was first conceived by the provincial authorities.

According Inspector General of Police of KP Nasir Durrani, the Safe City Project envisaged installing 2000 closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras to monitor roads and establishments for terrorist activity. The cameras were to be connected through 500 km of fiber optic cable to a bombproof command centre and operated through a 4G network. The project also aimed to equip police with a computer aided dispatch system and software for facial recognition and vehicle management system.

“From terrorism point of view, CCTV cameras are crucial to effective policing,” says Durrani, chief of police force in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. ”CCTV cameras and other modern equipment like jammers, explosive detectors and scanners make it easy for law enforcers to monitor and investigate criminal activity effectively.”

According to a document available with News Lens Pakistan, the project, originally conceived under the former Pakistan People’s Party government, was sponsored by the provincial government, with the Home and Tribal Affairs Department responsible for execution.

The government had allocated 1.5 billion rupees to the project in 2013-14 financial year, says the document. Consultants for the project were hired in January 15, 2014. Work on developing of Term of References (TORs) for project staff and other formalities continued till 2nd February 2015.

After it was vetted by the National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA) that is supposed to help install CCTV cameras, the project cost rose to 12.85 billion rupees from 1.5 billion rupees.

The document, obtained through an official source who wishes to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to work with media, says that that the last meeting on project coordination was held on 23 September 2015. Since then, there hasn’t been any progress on the project.

“Of the 128 CCTV cameras installed by the traffic police, 82 are functional while the rest are out of order,” said Abbas Majeed Marwat, Senior Superintendent Police (Operation). He said the the Information Technology (IT) Directorate was responsible for ensuring that the cameras stay functional.

When asked about dysfunctional cameras installed by police department, IG Nasir Durrani said those cameras were not purchased under the regular budget. “The cameras are not good quality. They were purchased by the IT department. CCTV cameras need proper maintenance. Due to lack of proper care these cameras are out of order.”

He suggested that maintenance should be a part of project contract.

Durrani said there were 4.2 million cameras installed all over London – with one camera for every 14 people.

CCTV cameras operated by private security firms are also integrated with the main control room in developed countries. “At least six cameras have been catching a single man going to or leaving an office or an establishment.”

An official of the Home and Tribal Affairs Department told News Lens Pakistan on condition of anonymity that Chief Secretary KP had some reservations over the project. However, he said, the project was handed over to the Planning and Development Department that was in the process of preparing a proposal for relaunching it.

An official of IT department at the Police Lines Peshawar who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to media said the cameras of Safe City Project Peshawar would be connected internet so that officials could monitor images on their phones and computers.

He said that CCTV cameras owned by private organizations had helped the police department in many cases in the past.

Cameras, he said, would be installed at all important points to monitor activities of people and take immediate action in case of any untoward incident.

The cameras will be backed up by uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units to ensure they stay functional during power outages.

The CCTVs will be monitored through a fully equipped operation room. According to the official, the cameras will be installed at public places, crowded trade centres and sensitive places.

Meanwhile, the police authorities have asked trade unions to install CCTV cameras at their expense to help the police because of delay in project.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here