– as Govt looking to implement ‘Smart City, Safe City’ programmeWhen it was implemented in Mexico, the ‘Smart City, Safe City’ programme was lauded for its success rates. Plans are currently being developed for Guyana to get its own version of this programme; including the construction of a unified command centre.Citizenship Strengthening and Security Programme (CSSP) Project Coordinator, Clement HenryAccording to Citizenship Strengthening and Security Programme (CSSP) Project Coordinator Clement Henry, all that was being awaited was approval to begin construction of this command centre… for which a design has already been sourced. In a sit down with the media, Henry explained how it would work.“All information coming in will be processed and observed at the unified command centre. We have been negotiating with these other agencies,” he related. “There’s a design already out there and it is just for us to move, once we get the go ahead, is to proceed with the procurement for the construction of that building.”“We believe that this surveillance system will contribute greatly to both crime prevention and crime investigation. Because with the videos that come into the command centre, they can do post event analysis that will be helpful in tracking down offenders.”It was in 2016 that Government officials went on a trip to China on a quest to secure smart city technology for the programme. While in China, they were supposed to observe innovative ways to upgrade Guyana’s surveillance system and further develop the Smart City Project, which has been identified as one of the CSSP’s initiatives under the US$15 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).Local law enforcement officials have been able to use footage from surveillance cameras around the city to assist in investigations into criminal activities; however many are critical, stating that the cameras are either inferior or too few.Besides this initiative, Henry had recently announced that the CSSP will facilitate the construction of 18 victim-friendly Police stations, which are slated to be completed by the end of 2018. These stations are being redesigned to address the capacity issues in responding to crime and violence within the country, which includes physical violence against women.An example of a convergent command centre at the Huawei Safe City Summit in 2016Henry, in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), described domestic violence as a “serious issue.” It is within this context that the stations are being fashioned to include materials, equipment, and rooms that are convenient for reports and complaints to be made against perpetrators.The modernisation of these stations is expected to foster an environment conducive to the efficient reporting system that caters specifically to victims.Henry claimed that the CSSP is currently procuring a consultancy firm to conduct a full diagnostic review in order to understand and resolve any and all issues victims have relating to reporting matters and identifying perpetrators.“We are designing the Police stations in a user-friendly manner… we’ve noticed from the safe neighbourhood surveys that many times people are reluctant [to make reports]… sometimes they complain that when they make a report, particularly domestic violence reports, [that] there is not enough confidentiality in the way they have to make the report at the open enquiries desk.”Plans are on stream to construct special rooms for domestic violence interviews as well as rooms for Identification Parades so that victims are not placed face-to-face with and intimidated by perpetrators.Construction began on 12 Police stations in the last quarter of 2017 and another six are slated to commence by the second quarter of 2018. The Cane Grove Police Station is almost entirely completed using the refurbished design and is currently awaiting Intercom Systems.Construction of redesigned stations in Mibicuri, La Grange, Kwakwani, Mackenzie, Issano, and Annai are moving apace. Among the six stations that are slated to commence construction this year are those located at Whim, Albion, and Springlands.