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Kingston, Jamaica: September 6, 2015 – Lawmen in the resort town of Ocho Rios have been given added resources to aid in their efforts to maintain law and order as the parish capital became the latest area to be outfitted with a cutting edge Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance system. The system was officially handed over recently at the Ocho Rios Police Station, where the monitoring centre is located.
The project forms part of the government’s overall mandate to improve public safety and security across the island by: deterring criminal behaviour, reducing the fear of crime and assisting the JCF in its enforcement and regulatory functions.
The system in Ocho Rios is worth over J$107million and was partly funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), which provided J$57 million dollars.
Head of Modernization Initiatives and Strategic Projects at the Ministry of National Security, Dr. Canute Thompson shared that the impressive system, which provides detailed surveillance of the resort town, includes numerous ‘high tech’ cameras, which include a mixture of pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) and fixed cameras.
The cameras are also equipped with solar technology to avoid interruptions that may occur during a loss in power. The system is monitored 24 hours per day by a select team of 12 duty surveillance officers who are able to access footage in real time as it has a 36 terabyte storage capacity.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill stated that “our tourism master-plan mandates that the TEF ensures the full development of our traditional resort areas.” He added that the CCTV system is a welcome initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and stressed that he hopes “the security system will improve the public safety of Jamaicans and visitors alike and help us in our mission to fight crime.”
He also shared that TEF has provided and additional J$2.6 million for the extensive renovation of the Ocho Rios Police Station, which began on August 26, 2015.
Minister of National Security Hon. Peter Bunting explained that the Jamaica Constabulary Force recognizes the importance of improved technology to fight crime across the island.
“Making greater use of technology available to the security forces is one of the deliberate strategies employed by the Ministry of National Security in the interest of citizen security and the reinforcing of a culture of lawfulness in Jamaica,” said Bunting.
He also shared that the installation of the CCTV systems in select areas is the first stage in what he hopes will become a part of a national plan to improve security across the island.
“Rather than having a distributed system, we could have a wide area network so that we can have a national monitoring centre where all the CCTV systems, not just the ones being used by the police but the ones being used by the National Works Agency, Parish Councils, and private operators, who are willing, because the value of the system increases exponentially based on the number of cameras,” Bunting explained.
The Commissioner of Police Dr. Carl Williams expressed gratitude for the new system in Ocho Rios. “With the CCTV we are applying technology to help fight crime, but we are unveiling a lot of other initiatives to ensure that we make this country safer not only for our citizens but those who grace our shores every year,” explained Williams.
He also disclosed that “the system will also be used as an evidence gathering tool where the cameras are not only used to film incidents but also police response and conduct in their interaction with citizens.”
The Commissioner also expressed appreciation for a new motor bike which was handed over by Chairman of the Ocho Rios Resort Board, Dr. Roosevelt Crooks, to boost the rapid response capability of the lawmen in the area.
In addition to Ocho Rios, CCTV surveillance systems have also been installed in Montego Bay, Mandeville and May Pen.