Tuesday, November 16, 2010

G20 gifts to Toronto

“As part of the G20 planning, CCTV cameras have been installed in addition to those ones operating to ensure the safety and security for dignitaries, business owners, residents and people who work and visit the downtown area and protesters. Once the summit is finished, these additional cameras will be removed. All CCTV cameras are marked with the word ‘police.’ They are programmed to view public spaces only.” (emphasis added)
Toronto police want to keep 52 of the 77 surveillance cameras they temporarily purchased for the G20 summit, more than tripling the force’s stock of CCTV equipment.
Guess the police should have been pressed on what removal meant, whether it was permanent or a temporary removal until they could ask the Toronto Police Services Board if they could keep them. This is an issue which will be before a newly constituted Board facing turnover with new councillors, among others. 

The need for these cameras should be demonstrated, so that the number they want is actually proportional to some kind of need for increased video surveillance. That pledge from the police this summer seemed to signify then that there was not a long term need for those cameras and a sensitivity toward having them in the first place. What has changed since then?

Throw in the fact that these cameras were purchased in a pre-G20 spending regime that saw no typical civilian oversight and this request now seems to rankle even more.

Not exactly trust engendering for police to so blatantly break a very public pledge to the people of Toronto in this way.