mid-day editorial: Caught on camera: Bad security at CST

The Railway police has just realised that most of the CCTV cameras at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) have been placed at the wrong angle. While this may sound funny, it is anything but.

Around 300 CCTV cameras are installed at CST. There are nearly nine entry/exit points at the station, but in eight such strategic points, CCTV cameras are not fulfilling their function. A top official stated that they realised that in many cases, a culprit cannot be seen entering or even leaving the station premises. It happened because the CCTV cameras were not placed at strategic points. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Government Railway Police (GRP) met recently and decided to realign 65 cameras.

It is disappointing to read such reports, because they once again proves how vulnerable we are, why lapses continue to occur even years after 26/11 and why we are struggling to bring the entire city under top-class camera surveillance. In an age of ever advancing technology, we are still flummoxed by camera angles. That too, at a railway station that is a prime target for terrorists and has already had been in the crosshairs of terror before.

We cannot afford to waste any more time to get CCTV surveillance, because terror waits for nothing and nobody. There is no room for error; attacks have taught us that the hard way. Let us focus on a couple of things. First that the CCTV cameras are placed at angles that afford good visibility. See that there are enough cameras to cover the spot completely. If they are found short in number, make a strong case for more cameras. See that the footage is of excellent quality. Ensure there are personnel to monitor footage. Finally, regular maintenance of the system is a must. Make this efficacious, make it error-free and make it work.

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