Safaricom hands over CCTV system to police this week

Ericsson Limited technicians repair a CCTV camera installed by Safaricom along Wayaki Way, Nairobi, in October. The surveillance system aims to boost security in Nairobi and Mombasa. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

What you need to know:

  • The telecoms operator said the government would use the infrastructure at no cost for the first year as a way of ensuring that the company has provided a working solution.

Safaricom is set to hand over the national surveillance system to the government this week after the completion of the project in Nairobi and Mombasa.

The telecoms operator said the government would use the infrastructure at no cost for the first year as a way of ensuring that the company has provided a working solution.

The government will thereafter start paying for it annually, with Safaricom continuing to offer support through a managed service deal for five years. 

The Sh14.9 billion National Surveillance, Communication and Control System links all security agencies, making it easy to share information and direct operations.

The project involved connecting 195 police stations in Nairobi and Mombasa to high-speed (4G) Internet to ease communication. The first phase of the surveillance system went live in May.

“After the handover, the system will largely be operated by the National Police Service under the expertise of a core project team comprising of officers from the National Police Service and other communications experts,” said Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore.

He added that the telco has trained 10,178 officers in maintaining and operating the system over the past one year.

Safaricom has installed tamper-proof, high definition and ultra-high definition CCTV cameras in Mombasa and Nairobi that are connected to a national command and control room.

Nairobi and Mombasa have been the hardest hit by terrorism.

Mr Collymore told the Business Daily that Safaricom has not received formal notification on possible expansion of the project to other towns.

“We believe we would be well equipped to handle similar projects and we would be happy to work with the government to ensure they have a seamless country-wide system,” he said.

A rollout of the project throughout the country would cost Sh21 billion.

The system has analytical capabilities allowing for facial and movement recognition from the CCTV footage that will be relayed to the command and control centre in real time.

Additionally, police have been equipped with walkie-talkies with cameras to take pictures at crime scenes for assessment and evidence. The pictures can be sent in real time to the command and control centre.

The walkie-talkies have tracking capabilities to improve disaster response. This is expected to make it easy to locate police officers closest to a crime scene for faster response.

“We believe that the country’s security is integral to its ability to attract future investment.

“As one of the largest investors in the country, a more secure Kenya will result in deeper dividends for all Kenyans beyond any financial gain the company may receive,” said Mr Collymore.

The system will enable security personnel to monitor areas under surveillance, detect any security incident, and help direct police response and monitor the flow of people and traffic, especially in town centres.

The system also has a command and control redundancy centre that is capable of coordinating an emergency response.

The network is independent of Safaricom’s commercial network though the two will share passive infrastructure such as base system masts.

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