Local administrations to fund CCTV expansion

PHUKET: Following the installation 48 closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras covering parts of Phuket City, Patong and Kata-Karon, local administrations across the island are preparing to fund 180 more cameras to improve security in their jurisdictions.

Vice-Governor Worapoj Ratthasima yesterday chaired a meeting on ways to fund installation of CCTV cameras at “risk” areas across the island by year’s end. Attending the gathering were Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Decha Budnampetch, Phuket CAT Telecom Manager Worawit Worrawiboonpong and representatives of municipalities and tambon administration organizations (OrBorTor).

Leading the surveillance surge will be Phuket City Municipality, which has earmarked earmarked 16.6 million baht of its fiscal 2007 budget for installation of 35 more CCTV cameras and construction of its own central monitoring center, to be sited at the Phuket City Fire Station. The city will also add 25 more cameras at a cost of 9.2 million baht in fiscal 2008, the meeting was told.

Phuket City Police, which has its own monitoring center at its headquarters on Chumphon Rd, will be given access to the city’s CCTV feeds – but the city will still be unable to tap into the police cameras.

Also expanding its coverage will be Patong Municipality, which will add 10 more cameras to its existing 16 with 4.2 million baht budgeted for fiscal 2007.

Karon Municipality, which already has 16 cameras in operation, has no plans to add more. Karon Municipality Chief Administrative Officer Tawatchai Tongmang said that the existing cameras already cover all of Karon’s major risk areas. The town will only set aside a budget for system maintenance, he said.

Other local administrations planning to installing CCTV in fiscal 2007 are:

OrBorTor Wichit: 1.9 million baht for 7 CCTV cameras;

OrBorTor Chalong: 5 million baht for 13 CCTV cameras;

OrBorTor Rawai: 20 million baht for 16 CCTV cameras;

OrBorTor Mai Khao: 1 million baht for coverage at Tah Chat Chai.

Cameras in Wichit will be monitored from the control center at Phuket City Police Station, while those in Chalong and Rawai will be monitored from the control center at Chalong Police Station, which already monitors the 16 Karon-based CCTV cameras.

Three cameras set up to monitor traffic at Chalong Circle are also linked to Chalong Police Station. Although working fine, these do not use CAT Telecom’s “CAT IT Security” service, which is based on high-speed, wireless CDMA2000 1X EV-DO technology.

Other administrations planning to set up CCTV cameras include OrBorTor Rassada, which will fund installation of 10 cameras in fiscal 2008.

Pol Maj Gen Decha told the meeting he wanted all local administrations to realize how well Phase I of the CCTV system had increased security, both for residents and tourists, since it went into operation about three months ago.

While confident that CCTV will play a big part in law enforcement in Phuket, he added that the effectiveness of the system ultimately depends on the management capabilities of the police units and other agencies responsible.

“We shouldn’t expect CCTV to solve all criminal cases, but is an important tool that makes police work a lot easier,” he said.

Phuket News

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