Cameras lead to arrests

By Ben Guild

1 comment
Cameras are monitored actively between 8am and 4pm seven days a week by First Security.
Cameras are monitored actively between 8am and 4pm seven days a week by First Security.

Police have arrested more than 2000 people over the past three years as a result of video footage captured by Western Bay surveillance cameras.

Figures released by the Tauranga City Council to the Bay of Plenty Times show a total of 2028 arrests were made over the period in which police requested to see a total of 642 blocks of footage from 80 crime detection and transportation cameras throughout the district.

Police can request to view footage under section 22 of the Privacy Act.

There are 45 crime prevention cameras in the district and 35 transportation cameras. The camera network is owned by the Tauranga City Council, monitored by First Security and maintained by Nutech Security.

Police say the cameras are important tools for crime prevention but some retailers have questioned whether they have improved behaviour around the city.

Satnum Singh, who works at City Produce Markets on the corner of Hamilton and Willow Streets, said the surveillance had little effect on controlling the numerous intoxicated patrons who spill out of the neighbouring establishments in the early hours.

"The cameras are there, but we don't get any benefit out of them," Mr Singh said.

"I open the store on Sundays and there are always bottles around here, people vomit in the corner. Sometimes even the girls spit out their gum ... council told us to put up the chains to stop people from parking, but people have just broken them and parked their cars.

"We fix it about twice a week, so I think there should be more cameras and they should do something."

The Mill Liquorland manager Guy Morgan said the cameras were inconsequential to the running of the business, despite a camera being located on the corner of Harington Street and the Strand.

Tauranga City Council environmental compliance manager John Payne referred questions on the effectiveness of the cameras to police.

Police Inspector Karl Wright-Sinclair said the cameras had proven crucial in adequately patrolling high crime areas.

"Obviously it's a very valuable, quick tool for us in terms of crime prevention and also criminal investigations as well."

He said police could only look at video footage that related to criminal acts.

"We make a request and if it's covered by the memorandum and fits within the Privacy Act then we are allowed to have it."

Police did not keep figures on how often they requested to view footage or how many arrests had been made as a result.

Nutech Security business development manager Jolene Mackie referred questions relating to the network to the Tauranga City Council, but said Nutech was responsible for the maintenance of a "substantial amount" of cameras in the region and throughout the country, including residential, commercial and industrial systems, as well as those used by local government.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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