The 10 CCTV cameras, which have zoom ability to see more than 300 metres and rotate 360 degrees, are valued at more than B1 million and were handed over at the ceremony on Tuesday (Sept 6) under the campaign “Thousand Eyes Community Help” to assure tourists and residents the safety of the town.
The project was also conducted under the national goverment’s Pracharat policy, explained Kathu District Chief Sayan Chanachaiwong.
“This is project, combines the full support of government departments, business operators and residents who believe that the crucial thing for tourist attraction area is safety,” Mr Sayan said.
“Under this campaign ‘Thousand Eyes Community Help’, these 10 CCTV cameras will be installed on Bangla Rd, then we will expand the project and garner more donations to have CCTV installed in other areas.
“Our goal is to cover all areas of Patong Beach. Thank you everyone for your support,” he said.
Chief Sayan in part recognised the lack of CCTV coverage on the busiest tourist street in Phuket’s key tourist town.
“We learned that the CCTV that had been installed had some maintenance issue, so this time a private company has been hired to take care of this CCTV system,” he said.
Patong Police Chief Chaiwat Uikam explained that CCTV coverage in Patong available to police currently comprises 120 government CCTV cameras and more than 200 CCTV cameras from private businesses and homes.
“In total, we have access to more than 300 CCTV cameras, which still does not cover all areas,” he said.
“We will need at least 1,000 CCTV cameras to cover all of Patong.” he added.
Col Chaiwat declined to elaborate on how much funding has already been provided to provide the current level of police CCTV coverage in his jurisdiction.
However, he added, “The problem with installing CCTV cameras is maintenance. Patong is next to the beach, so CCTV cameras are easily damaged, but the CCTV cameras we installed today are high-quality.
“They rotate 360 degrees and can zoom to provide images from up to 300 metres away. We will be able to see images very clearly, daytime and at night. A private company will be in charge of maintaining them.
“The new CCTV cameras will benefit officers trying to follow suspects or investigate anything suspicious, and they will increase the level of trust among tourists that our place is safe. Patong Municipality has also requested a budget to buy 20 additional CCTV cameras for Patong area,” he added.
Also present for the ceremony on Tuesday was Preechawut “Prab” Keesin, President of the Pisona Group of companies that flourish in Patong and who was instrumental in launching the campaign to boost CCTV coverage of Patong to boost security in 2012. (See story here.)
“Many business operators on Bangla Rd have installed CCTV on their own to help keep this town safe, and most of them are of the same type. We have contacted all venues that have CCTV installed to see if we can connect their systems to ours in the future. If we connect all of them together, we can give officials a code so they can access the system to see the footage when needed during investigation,” he said.
“The 10 CCTV cameras given today are of the same type that we are familiar with and the control centre is at police box on Bangla Rd. I think is is enough for this area, but we also must set aside a budget for 24-hour maintenance of the system,” Mr Preechawut concluded.
In the national manhunt following the bombings on Aug 11-12 that killed four people and injured dozens more, police have yet to provide any CCTV images of the suspect who planted the bomb at the police box on Bangla Rd.