Monday, August 17, 2009

DMP to go hi-tech

Launches intricate control room Sept 1 to tackle crime, traffic
Mukhlesur Rahman

Dhaka Metropolitan Police starts centrally monitoring important intersections of the capital with modern equipment from September 1 to curb street crime and ease congestion, a major headache for city dwellers.

The DMP has set up a control room--Command, Control and Communication System, known as C3S--installed closed-circuit television cameras and dot matrix displays at key intersections.

This modern system is now on its month-long trials.

Additional Inspector General (telecom) YM Belalur Rahman of DMP told The Daily Star, "The month-long tests of the sophisticated instruments are going on and the DMP authorities on September 1 will take over operations from the Brunei firm Folec Communication, which installed the instruments and set up the C3S control room."

Assistant Commissioner Mosharrof Hossain said Folec Communication installed 155 CCTV cameras at 59 points, including all entries and exits of the city, and 31 dot matrix displays at important intersections to inform motorists of congestions ahead.

DMP sources said the CCTV cameras have been installed in crime-prone areas and intersections, including Gulshan-1, Gulshan-2, Gulshan Shooting Club, Moghbazar, Bijoy Sarani, Aeroplane, Shahbagh, Jatrabari and Gulistan and Banani Kakoli level crossing and Mohakhali flyover.

The 31 dot matrix displays have been installed in busy intersections, which include Syedabad, Rampura, Jatrabari, Motijheel, Gabtoli, Farmgate and Gulistan.

They said with the instruments and devices, the C3S will be capable of identifying vehicles defying traffic laws, that stop on roads creating traffic jams and vehicles fleeing the scene of an accident or other crimes.

Belalur Rahman said the C3S is capable of monitoring the performance of on-duty police personnel within range of the CCTV cameras.

The DMP hopes that with the help of the new devices and instruments police personnel will be able to check street crimes and ease traffic congestion to some extent.

Automatic Vehicle Location Systems have been installed in 30 DMP patrol cars, which will be controlled from the C3S room, DMP sources said, adding that the DMP authorities are also going to introduce a short telephone number for people in danger to call police for help.

The existing police control room is just a glorified telephone exchange while the new one will be a fully-fledged police control room with the ability to detect locations of police vehicles and send them to a crime scene. Digital maps would be used in the C3S.

The existing police control room can only make broadcasts to policemen while the system used in the C3S has numerous options of communicating with police personnel. It can make one-to-one calls, group calls and broadcasts.

Four base stations across the city would receive the feed from CCTV cameras and then forward the data to the central base station set up at the control room on Abdul Gani Road in the capital.

The Brunei firm is now providing police personnel training on how to operate the intricate instruments besides commissioning the instruments into service, DMP telecom sources said.

The Tk 61 crore project for installing the instruments and setting up the modern control room was started way back in 1997 but stumbled as it faced funding issues, resulting in such a long time to complete, DMP sources said.

However, sources claimed that the new facilities are inadequate for this huge city and the entire city needs to be brought under the C3S.

Even though the DMP will take over the C3S on September 1, it is hoped that the government will formally inaugurate it sometime in September, DMP sources said.

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