CCTV coming to Oamaru

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Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed in central Oamaru in a matter of weeks.

All the equipment needed arrived about a week ago.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said cabling was laid at the Oamaru police station, where the cameras will be monitored, last week and over the next two to three weeks, the cameras themselves will be installed.

As well as the cameras, signs advising people that they are being filmed will be put up in certain areas.

“We’re looking at initially half-a-dozen cameras around spots we think there are more issues,” Mr Kircher said.

“It’s certainly extendable and as funding becomes available, there will be more that go in.”

In June 2014, council allocated $20,000 towards a CCTV network for Oamaru’s central business district.

The aim was to make Oamaru a safer place, to increase the perception of safety, to monitor traffic, pedestrian and crime issues, to deter and prevent offending and capture information for preventing, detecting and investigating offences.

“I think it will be a good thing for protecting people’s personal safety and property. There are crimes being committed out there so anything we can do to minimise that, the better.”

In February, council adopted a series of guidelines, as required under the Privacy Act 1993, before the CCTV could go ahead to ensure it was operated within the requirements of the Act.

The Waitaki District Council Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Guidelines address privacy, when the cameras will be operated, where they will be and who will monitor them, and retention of footage.

Footage will be kept on file for two months before it is erased, however footage can be used at any time for evidential purposes as part of any police investigation.

While the council owns the CCTV system, it will be monitored by police representatives.

There has been some concerns aired among residents on social media the system will mean people are being spied on, however Mr Kircher said that will not be the case.

“We’ve adopted a policy to make sure people’s privacy is respected. We’re only interested in preventing people doing the wrong thing from doing it.”

By Daniel Birchfield