Fears over council CCTV use policy

The tenants claimed their neighbours had security cameras that could see into their windows....
Photo: NZ Herald
Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark says the city could be walking into a minefield with the policy around its CCTV operation.

Police came to the council more than a year ago wanting a new CCTV system installed in the city centre and the council agreed to replace the old cameras, which were not working properly.

Approval of a policy around the cameras was sought at an infrastructure committee meeting.

The committee was told the system would be able to store images for 90 days but police could ask for images to be held for longer if they were investigating a crime.

Deputy mayor Tom Campbell asked how images were deleted after 90 days, if it was done automatically or if a human was involved. He was told they were deleted automatically.

Mr Clark wondered what the actual use of the cameras was and asked if they could be used for detecting traffic infringements.

He said that was not the purpose of the cameras and they would be entering an absolute minefield as the policy was quite broad.

He asked if someone was assaulted in Dee St after walking out of a licensed area obviously in a drunken state could the CCTV operations be used by the police.

"Is that allowed? Can you use a camera to ask the licensee?" he asked.

Council infrastructure group manager Erin Moogan said the council was not discussing the operations of the cameras, only the policy set around the cameras.

Cr Darren Ludlow said people wanted cameras to keep them safe and to stop crime.

The council was storing footage when the police were looking at live footage, Mr Clark said.

Mr Clark said there were two groups who were interested in the cameras.

One group just wanted to be safe and cameras helped with that. The other group were worried about their privacy being invaded.

"We will get legal challenges the moment we step outside what these groups think are acceptable."

Cr Lesley Soper said the seven guides the policy had covered for the use of the cameras were a good, sensible set of policies.

The committee agreed to accept these policies.


Policy for cameras
■Enhancing public safety and 
community wellbeing.
■Help police and others detect crime.
■Improve staff security.
■Help business allocate resources.
■Help council monitoring.
■Protect council assets.
■Manage traffic.