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Launch of new police CCTV network faces further delays

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Eye in the sky: Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, examines the new CCTV system during a tour at Prospect (Photograph Supplied)

Frequent summer storms last year have been blamed for extensive delays in the installation of a new police CCTV system, according to the Government.

Work on the $4 million project — a network of 247 security cameras across the island — began last September and was expected to be completed in 25 weeks.

As late as last November, Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, was confident that the new cameras would be up and running by the end of the year.

But in January, a ministry spokesman said that the completion date had been put back to the end of this month.

Yesterday, a government spokesman confirmed that only 150 cameras had been erected — 60 of which are operational — and that installation work is expected to take at least another month.

The spokesman said: “As the public may be aware, the CCTV initiative was delayed due to numerous storms last summer. Over the next month, road work and new pole installation will continue as more sites are brought online.”

Mr Weeks was given a tour of the new system last week by Darrin Simons, the Commissioner of Police. Work on upgrading the command centre’s infrastructure at police headquarters in Prospect is 95 per cent complete.

Mr Weeks said the programme “marked a key milestone in strengthening Bermuda's public safety infrastructure”.

He added: "This technology enhances our ability to safeguard our island and is an essential tool in our law enforcement arsenal to maintain public order and deter crime.

"I am confident that as we near full operational capacity, the benefits will be visible to all residents and visitors of Bermuda."

Mr Simons said that progress in installing the new network had been “steady”.

He said: “The new system will be an invaluable asset in our ongoing efforts as they relate to crime detection given its advanced capabilities in terms of allowing for better identification of individuals and vehicles engaged in the commission of crime.

“I again thank the minister for his continued support in ensuring the Bermuda Police Service is better equipped for meeting the mandate with which it is entrusted, making Bermuda safer.”

Screen test: Mr Weeks said that the new system represents a milestone in the war on crime (Photograph supplied)

Police cameras were first installed in Bermuda in 1991 and the system was upgraded in 2014.

The 247 new cameras include facial and licence plate recognition, PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom), multisensory, and varifocal technology.

The spokesman said: “This system promises an improvement in managing security, offering improved capabilities in tracking, verifying, and recognising individuals and vehicles through sophisticated imaging technology.”

They will not able to monitor speeds but have the potential to have software features added on to tackle road traffic offences.

Mr Weeks had previously said using the system for traffic offences such as speeding and jumping red lights would form part of the second phase of the project but did not say when work on phase two would start.

A government spokesman said that the current and new CCTV networks were working concurrently to optimise coverage as the new system nears activation.

They said: “The dual operation of the existing and upcoming CCTV systems underscores a strategic approach to maximise surveillance effectiveness and ensure comprehensive coverage across Bermuda.

“This strategic approach ensures that surveillance coverage does not gap as the new system is phased in, reflecting the Government's commitment to continuous security improvements.

“The Ministry of National Security remains dedicated to keeping the public informed on the progress of this crucial security initiative and ensuring that Bermuda remains a safe place to live, work and visit.”

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Published April 24, 2024 at 7:47 am (Updated April 24, 2024 at 7:47 am)

Launch of new police CCTV network faces further delays

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