Belize City Police have installed eleven new high quality cameras in South Side Belize City. Today, the department inaugurated the system. The project is one that was achieved with the support of the business community, the biggest sponsor being the Belize Natural Energy Trust, which contributed over thirty eight thousand dollars for the purchase of six cameras. ACP Chester Williams, Officer Commanding the Eastern Division South says the system is part of upgrading the efficiency of the Police Department to effectively combat crime, especially in South Side Belize. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Affairs Elodio Aragon Jr. said that it is in line with the strategic plan for the department.
“We have focused in the areas that we know were more problematic so the priority areas and we are hoping that if the embassy comes through with the additional 16 we will be able to put in additional key areas. The system is structured in such a way even if the crime should move to another area there will still be cameras in those areas to be able to capture whatever needs to be captured and we also look at places that we will refer to as escape routes to ensure that we put things in place for those areas as well.”
“The camera system is only a part of it. If you understand the CABEI loan agreement between government you will see that we catered for a 9-1-1 integrated system along with 100 cameras for Belize City so these are things already in plan. What you see here today is just the start of things to come.”
ACP Williams says that the cameras will also assist where the public does not, as the department has been facing difficulties with obtaining witnesses to crimes. And if viewers are concerned about the possibility of these cameras being used to invade privacy, ACP Williams says they do not need to worry. He says the department has ensured to put in place their own security measures to safeguard the content and usage of the system.
“There is protocol in terms of how the camera is to be operated and we trust that the officer who we have carefully selected because we didn’t take any officer we looked for those who we believe are quite capable, those who we believe will be able to maintain confidentiality to ensure that they are the ones who operate the camera and secondly each officer who operates the camera will sign a secrecy act to ensure that whatever it is that they may have seen on the camera that they do not go and divulge it to members of the public. The system is not here to go into the house of people, it is here to be able to monitor the streets and look for persons who maybe about to commit criminal acts or have committed a criminal act and we insist upon our officers that the cameras are used for the purpose they are to be used for. So I do not foresee any issues of people complaining about their privacy being violated by the police through the use of these cameras.”
Minister Aragon says that he foresees additional cameras to be put in place with a year or a little more.