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Southland acting area commander Inspector Mike Bowman made a presentation to councillors at an infrastructure and services committee meeting in May, requesting more CCTV cameras in Invercargill, with better quality.
It had been ''quite a few years'' since upgrades had been made and many of the cameras were breaking down, Insp Bowman said.
A video shown to councillors gave an example of poor camera quality affecting police investigations, he said.
''We had quite a nasty assault in the inner city which was right in front of the camera, but the quality is so poor we couldn't identify them.
''It could have been a lot more beneficial and enabled us to get on to those offenders a lot quicker, had it been better quality.''
The city council was now sourcing the best technology for the job, infrastructure and services committee chairman Lindsay Thomas said yesterday.
''[The video] was alarming but it actually showed there is a need, and we would say an urgent need, to actually make sure that we are acting on this ASAP.''
The company responsible for Invercargill's CBD upgrade, HW Richardson Group, was also ''very keen'' to assist police, Insp Bowman said.
''We asked if they thought about having cameras, and whether or not police could incorporate their strategies into the new development.
''[The redevelopment] is where a lot of people are going to migrate as well, so they're really keen on getting involved in that process.''
Areas in need of more CCTV cameras included the Invercargill Prison, which was experiencing issues with ''throw-overs'' of contraband, the Dee St McDonalds, and several areas in South City, he said.
''Why not challenge ourselves to try and make Invercargill the safest city in New Zealand?'' he said.
Cr Thomas hoped a report would be received about the camera upgrade in the next three to five months.