Hopes CCTV camera will curb skate park violence

The Oamaru skate park. Photo: Daniel Birchfield
The Oamaru skate park. Photo: Daniel Birchfield
A CCTV camera is up and running at the Oamaru skate park, several months after plans to install it were first considered by the Waitaki District Council, police and Safer Waitaki.

The camera, installed recently, is mounted atop a pole on the State Highway 1 side of the skate park.The skate park has been the scene of several unsavoury incidents that have attracted police attention this year.

In addition to several reports of bullying and intimidation, a serious incident took place in February when a youth was reportedly injured during a brawl involving up to six young people, aged between 11 and 17, armed with weapons that included a knife, a metal wrench and a piece of wood.

Then, in October, a rock was thrown from the skate park at a passing train, which shattered the locomotive’s window and struck the driver in the face.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru,  said the camera was a tool police could use to help curb violent incidents but stressed parents needed to supervise their children while at the skate park.

"I think it’s good for the community around the whole perception of being safe and feeling safe, having that camera there.

"Children can be here and be safe, and if there is something happening we can see what’s going on or go back and have a look at it. That’s fantastic for the community."

The camera is monitored from the Oamaru police station along with the town’s  other CCTV cameras.

In July, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher told the Otago Daily Times he supported the plan to install the camera as it would help give skate park users and their families "some  peace of mind that there was something there to help monitor" potentially dangerous situations.

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