KARACHI - President Asif Ali Zardari has reiterated the commitment of the government to ensure law and order and the safety and security of the citizens which he said was the prime responsibility of any government.

He said that enhancing the capacity of law-enforcement agencies and equipping them with latest technologies for effectively dealing with emergent situations and to keep the law and order situation under control was the priority area for the government.

He was addressing the inauguration ceremony of phase-I of the project of installation of CCTV cameras in Karachi for the purpose of better monitoring and surveillance of the port city and to keep the crime rate in check by the law-enforcement agencies here at the CM house on Friday.

Those who were present on the occasion included among other Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh provincial minister, provincial secretaries of the concerned departments, senior officers of Police and law-enforcing agencies and others. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, while briefing the President about the project said that Sindh government has undertaken a number of projects aimed at improving infrastructural and operational capacities of the Police and other law-enforcing authorities so as to enable them effectively deal with the challenge of maintaining law & order in the province especially in the metropolis.

He said that Karachi Video Surveillance System was planned in 2009 and a team of Police officers was tasked to study the Video Surveillance model deployed by the Police department of London, Istanbul and UAE. He said that in view of the cost of the project, it was decided to take up the project in phases. For the Phase-I of this project, the Sindh government allocated Rs690 million.

About the scope of the project, the President was informed that 164 pole site locations have been identified where five cameras will be installed on each pole. The system would be supported by state-of-the-art data centre with storage capacity of 45 days and Video Forensic Lab with advanced video searching techniques. Central Command & Control Centre with international standards along with Regional Centres have been established for the operational purposes.

The System would also include the facility of Vehicle Number Plate Recognition System at various locations and GIS based Hand held devices enabled with the Criminal Record Office and vehicle/other police data. It was informed that 100 vehicle mounted cameras with live feeds to Command and Control Centre would augment the surveillance system of the metropolis.

The President was informed that the system has successfully been tested during the mega events including Muharram 2012.

It was informed that Sindh Police intends to launch Phase-II of the project by enhancing the locations of Camera sites as well as capacity of data centre and additional Mini Command Centers with live access up to Police Station level.

The President appreciated the Sindh Police for launching the video surveillance project in Karachi expressing hope that the system would be instrumental in keeping law and order situation under control. He also expressed hope that the model will be replicated in other major cities of the country to deal with the issues of law and order.