Rwanda pilots stress buttons in public spaces

Emergency buttons have so far been installed on at least 61 CCTV sites, all in the City of Kigali. (Photo by Dan Nsengiyumva)

Rwanda National Police (RNP), since January 2017, is testing panic/emergency buttons on roads in Kigali City.

According to police spokesperson, Commissioner of Police John Bosco Kabera, these buttons have so far been installed on at least 61 CCTV sites, all in the City of Kigali.

These buttons will ease the handling of different emergencies, including those related to safety or health-related, that require quick intervention from the police.

Panic buttons are used to notify the control centre or even people around the vicinity, of any emergency, which then dispatches the necessary intervention.

It is triggered when a caller presses the button, which is connected to a built in microphone located at the lower part of the pole, and which is clearly visible.

Once you press the emergency button, the CCTV camera automatically points in the direction of the emergency button to allow the operators to have a clear view at the CCTV site.

Operators are then able to talk to the caller through the speaker at the site.

Speaking to The New Times during an exclusive interview, Kabera, the RNP spokesperson explained what these buttons are there to solve issues.

“The panic buttons shall improve response time and allow responders to have a live video feed of the environment of the caller and incident, which cannot be achieved with a voice call.”

He also explained, that people should know that the buttons can be a quicker way and means to seek for police help and should be used whenever a person is in an emergency situation.

Kabera however warned that these buttons be used in the right way.

“When they have been rolled out and all members of public made aware of their use, these buttons should not be abused but rather be used for the right purpose for incidents that are emergency in nature.”

Recently, police complained about people who abuse the force’s Emergency Call Centre services, saying that some “distress callers” insult those at the call centre, while others make unbecoming requests like music.

Meanwhile, Kabera said that first sites became operational in 2017, and the second phase will be implemented “in the near future.”

Each CCTV site has only one panic button, and so far 61 sites are now capable of supporting the feature, but additional sites are being activated and will soon be operational.

According to Kabera, the feature is yet to be communicated publicly, although they have been tested and found to be technically working.

“This feature shall be communicated to allow people to effectively use it to communicate in case of emergency,” Kabera.

So far, these have been installed in different places, including at major road junctions and in public facilities like hotels and hospitals like CHUK.

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