The town hall of Lorient inaugurated, this Wednesday, August 2, 2023, its Urban Supervision Center (CSU). The city of six ports is the second city in Morbihan, after Vannes, to have such a center, which allows real-time processing of the images captured by the 50 surveillance cameras scattered around the city.
The centre, located in the municipal police compound at L’Orientis, is a highly secure room. And for good reason, this is the “nerve node” which connects the information from all the cameras in the city, explained Fabrice Loher, the mayor of the city. Previously, the cameras were not linked together and their images were not processed in real time. A dozen screens fixed to the wall permanently and live broadcast views of certain key points of the city: the surroundings of Jules-Ferry park, the station district, the Frébault district, among others. For Guy Casan, security assistant, this makes it possible to “patrol, but on video”. The National Police has direct access to the images.
2 Reinforce security in the city
The CSU actually went into operation at the end of June, during the riots. “The tool then made it possible to guide the action of the police on the ground”, explains Guy Casan. “I was able to see that weekend that it increased the operational efficiency of the police,” rejoiced Fabrice Loher. This is the first objective of the CSU. The offenses covered by video surveillance are of all kinds. However, it is not a question of verbalizing from a distance, as in the case of a minor traffic violation, even if it is possible in the future, according to Fabrice Loher. The second objective of the system is to help resolve criminal investigations by providing evidence. The third, to deter the commission of criminal acts. “It has helped certain investigations but it does not prevent tragedies”, relativizes the elected opposition member, Gael Briand.
3 The Wire, a test for the device
Two municipal police operators, trained and sworn, work within the CSU. Eventually, there will be four. The images are processed during the day, from Tuesday to Saturday. But in exceptional circumstances, exceptional means: during the ten days of Le Fil, live video surveillance will be effective until 2:30 or 3:30 in the morning. From this point of view, “the Interceltic Festival is going to be a real test”, declared the sub-prefect, Baptiste Rolland.
4 A high cost
The renewal of the cameras deemed obsolete cost 260,000 euros and the amount of the work to restore the CSU premises amounted to 370,000 euros, part of which was financed by the State, “a significant investment”, recognized the mayor, part of which was financed by state funds.
5 And privacy in all this?
The activity of the CSU is controlled by an Ethics Committee made up of elected municipal officials, user associations (traders, restaurateurs, etc.), the President of the Bar of Lorient, and representatives of the National Police. He is responsible for verifying that the CSU remains within the nails of legality. The images are also only kept for one month and are only accessible by authorized municipal police officers, the National Police and the Public Prosecutor. It is however possible for anyone to ask the municipal police to access the images on which they think they appear.