Police: Leaked info on illegal security cameras hindering investigation

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Commander of the North Central Division, Snr Supt Richard Smith. –

HEAD of the police’s North-Central Division Snr Supt Richard Smith says now that information on a major investigation into illegal CCTV cameras is public, there may be greater difficulty in nabbing the criminals involved.

On May 11, another newspaper reported criminal gangs were using illegally set up security cameras to monitor police and civilians. The media house said the information came from an internal memo within the police service.

Speaking to Newsday on May 12, Smith confirmed cameras were set up on TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) light poles without its permission at Monte Grande, Tunapuna, and Basanta Trace, John Road. A total of 13 cameras were removed from the former and ten from the latter.

However, he added, he could not understand why the details of such a sensitive investigation were provided to a media house.

“It can really prevent us from getting (nabbing) the people involved because they can move differently now that they know what we know.”

He also debunked claims made by Opposition MP Saddam Hosein at a press conference on Sunday that police discovered a “monitoring hub” for these operations at Bangladesh, St Joseph and that two TV screens showed 62 feeds from different cameras, including some monitoring the St Joseph, Tunapuna and Arouca police stations.

“I would know about something like that because that is my division.”

Hosein also called for a “full-scale” investigation into the matter.

“This is a very serious and grave matter…We call for a full-scale investigation into this matter,” Hosein said.

“There must be an immediate and complete overhaul of the national security inventory in Trinidad and Tobago to determine whether or not all our CCTV cameras are accounted for. T&TEC must also investigate whether or not there are any illegal cameras erected on any T&TEC poles throughout Trinidad and Tobago.”

He also called on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Judiciary and financial institutions to do their own investigations to determine if any related buildings are being monitored by criminals using these cameras.

“This matter affects all of us.”

Smith said it is unclear just how many more of these illegal cameras there are across the country.