Key crime fighters not trained

Rochelle de Kock

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s high-tech CCTV control room, which is meant to clamp down on crime in Central and along the beachfront, is being operated by staff who are not trained for the job.

As a result, only two arrests have been made since July last year. This is further worsened by the fact that there is no response team linked to the control room, which means the staff monitoring the cameras do not have a team to immediately respond to criminal activity.

The control room was opened at the South End fire station in December 2006 to monitor crime hotspot areas.

Although the cameras are monitored 24 hours a day, acting director for safety and security Shane Brown said “not all staff are adequately skilled” to manage the computer software.

He was speaking at a safety and security portfolio committee meeting yesterday.

In his report to the committee, Brown identified other challenges. These included:

  • There is no set managerial command and control structure;

  • Details of incidents are not readily available;

  • Operators are not responding to alarms;

  • Night-shift operators are not performing;

  • Not all security officers or vehicles have two-way radios, which makes it difficult to communicate;

  • The CCTV cameras are not regularly maintained; and

  • There is no budget to upgrade the systems.

DA councillor Marshall von Buchenroder said he felt the CCTV control room was “failing the people of this metro”.

“There were only two arrests. This shows there is no operation by all the 27 staff members,” he said.

DA spokesman for safety and security, councillor Gustav Rautenbach, said:

“For many years we have asked for a response unit. There’s no use we have a control room if we cannot respond to the crime taking place.”

Brown has developed a turnaround strategy to address the challenges.

However, he said the lack of budget made it difficult for him to do this effectively.

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