Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Bar's toilet cameras spark outrage

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A Christchurch bar has sparked outrage after it installed cameras in its toilets in a bid to catch vandals and increase security.

Popular music venue Dux Live says it was forced to introduce the in-toilet security system after a rising vandalism problem last year.

The cameras have been approved by police and are even admissible as evidence in criminal courts, bar management says.

This week, the Lincoln Rd bar posted footage from the cameras on its Facebook page to try to catch some people they allege to have done damage in the toilets.

General manager Ross Herrick says he wants to "name and shame" bar-goers who were trying to steal framed pictures of famous musicians from the toilet walls.

He denies it's a breach of privacy, saying: "If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to worry about."

"The installation of all venue cameras was to firstly provide an safe and enjoyable environment for our guests, staff and performers and secondly deter those who less appreciate what we have gone to lengths to provide."

On Monday, he put up a photo of one alleged offender on the Dux Live Facebook page which said: "Does anyone know this clever bugger? We're sick of a***holes trying to trash our stuff. Please let us know and we'll love you long time."

The postings have sparked a flurry of comments on the bar's Facebook page, both positive and negative.

"A serious violation of of patrons rights. A short sighted and thick move by the bars management," one poster wrote.

Another said: "I will no longer enter or recommend the dux... I do not like the slippery slope you have decided to cross."

And again: "I do not condone the destruction of property and I understand your frustration, however cameras in toilets is unacceptable and destruction of property is sadly just a part of being in this industry."

Several were in favour, and one posting summed up those feelings: "When I go out I go for a good time. I don't break the law therefore I have nothing to hide from the cameras. Good on the Dux for caring about staff and patron safety."

Others questioned legality of the move, which prompted Dux bosses to respond: "Do you seriously think after 33 years we'd stupid sought to post illegal stuff, there are signs at the entrance and inside the males toilets."

Mr Herrick said signs stating there is '24-hour video surveillance' are posted at the entrance to the venue, and in the male toilets.

Today he has erected another sign in the male toilets to avoid any doubt that there are cameras there.

The bar has four cameras, including the loo-cam which staff can review on an iPhones app.

Sensitive areas of the footage is blacked out, while the footage is only reviewed if there has been an issue, Mr Herrick says.

"Only the guilty need be worried and only the perverted mind would think it possible that the camera's were to be used in an indecent way," he said.

"All of the people claiming they have issues about privacy and all that... they are on Facebook and so can't care too much about their privacy."

While there is only one camera is the male toilets, Dux Live has legal approval for installation in the female toilets but are "as yet undecided" if they go ahead with it.

"Interesting enough the female toilets attract more vandalism than the males," Mr Herrick said.

A spokesman for Christchurch Police said CCTV footage from businesses can often assist with enquiries into a variety of incidents, particularly thefts and burglaries.

Police have no record of a complaint being laid with police in regards to the Dux Live toilet cameras.

- APNZ

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