THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Police stations in the state will now be brought under CCTV surveillance, with the state police department initiating measures to curb human rights violation and custodial torture as per the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. Acting on the apex court’s 2020 order, the department had already taken measures to install CCTV cameras in the stations in a phased manner. Giving the move further impetus, State Police Chief Anil Kant on Thursday issued an order directing individual station house officers (SHO) and the telecommunication wing to to assess the working condition of the cameras.
They have also been directed to ensure data backup and troubleshoot glitches in the camera and networking systems.
The highlight of the order, however, is the directive to bring all parts of a police station under CCTV coverage. As per the order, cameras should be installed at all entry and exit points, main gate, lockups, corridors, officers’ rooms, etc., in every station. In short, barring washrooms, all other parts of the police station will now be under surveillance.
The CCTV system will be equipped with night vision and audio recording facilities, which will help senior officials or the Human Rights Commission ascertain if there has been any violation of the rights of those taken into custody. In case of areas where there is a paucity of electricity, alternative means of energy should be arranged.
The CCTV footage should be stored for a minimum of 18 months. If the recording equipment available in the market does not have that capacity, devices that allow storage of footage spanning up to a year should be procured.
A senior officer, on condition of anonymity, said the order was issued to address the issue of human rights violations being reported from police stations. “The treatment citizens get from local stations is the true indicator of the quality of policing. By introducing a slew of measures, we want to ensure that local stations adhere to modern police practices,” the officer added.