Cameras by September

Security cameras should be operating in Alexandra's central business district by September.

The Vincent Community Board yesterday adopted an operating policy for closed circuit TV cameras.

It has set up two cameras and a monitor on a commercial building on the corner of Tarbert and Limerick Sts, one camera aimed towards the river end of Tarbert St and the other in the opposite direction, showing the intersection of Tarbert and Limerick Sts.

The Central Otago District Council's community facility officer Carol McGarry said the cameras were to prevent and detect criminal offences.

"The repetitive nuisance vandalism that occurs over a weekend period in Alexandra does not promote a safe community," Mrs McGarry said.

The security cameras had been tested but the board needed to adopt a policy on the operation of the equipment before the cameras were activated full-time.

Under the requirements of the Privacy Act, the board had to advise the privacy commissioner why it wanted to install the cameras and provide a copy of its closed circuit TV camera operating policy before using the cameras, she said.

It was likely to be September before the system was activated.

The need for security cameras and improved lighting in the town's business area was identified at a public meeting in 2007.

Board member Cam Withington said the police had suggested the present location for the cameras, because it was a "hot spot" for vandalism.

The cameras were movement-activated and would be useful in providing information on traffic and pedestrian flows plus would act as a deterrent to vandals, Mr Withington said.

Lawyer and board member Tim Cadogan asked if footage from the cameras would be available to individuals for defence if charged with a crime.

Mr Withington assumed it would be, but would be "user-pays".

The board would be responsible for the cost of installing, housing and maintaining the cameras and recording equipment and funding any expansions or upgrades.

The authorised operators would be a Vincent board member, a Central Otago District Council staff member, a member of the police and a technician.


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