Item 9.10 – CCTV

Hyams moved the motion to use the grants for the closed circuit cameras minus installation costs, maintenance and ‘operations’ and for the police to give advice on where to put the cameras. There should also be consultation with traders and community as well as ‘developing a cctv public policy’.  Seconded Magee.

COMMENT

Readers need to be aware that what this motion really means is that if the grant is for $150,000 for cameras, that Hyams proposes to spend the funds on cameras ONLY AFTER all the other costs have been subtracted. In other words, he does not want council to spend a penny of its funds. What this ultimately means is less cameras in less places!

HYAMS: stated that it would be ‘far more preferable’ for the police to be responsible for monitoring. That’s been an issue since 2011 when ‘the funding was made available in Bentleigh’. Said that the situation now is that it’s been ‘definitively shown’ that the police won’t take coverage so ‘it’s up to us to decide what we want to do’. Council can’t keep on arguing with the police and they must ‘use the money’. Went on to say that he thought that this is the opportunity to ‘spend the money’ on what he ‘believes the community wants us to spend the money on’. Also if the money isn’t spent then they ‘will lose’ it. Traders, particularly in Bentleigh want it as well as the Carnegie traders. “I believe the community wants it as well’. Claimed that it ‘can deter crime’ as well as catching criminals. When government sets something up then suddenly ‘we’re carrying the expense’ but with this motion it ‘doesn’t cost us anything’. In the end the ‘community wins out’.

MAGEE: said that cctv is ‘now a necessity’ and claimed that in 2010 he had called for a report on this. Even though Glen Eira isn’t a ‘hot bed of crime’ it’s important because ‘a lot of people take comfort’ and the cameras give a sense of security to people. Repeated that cameras can detect crime and prosecuting people. Thought that the Bentleigh rotunda would be ‘one of the first places’ where they could put the cameras. Thought it was also ‘incumbent’ for council to ‘do things’ for all those people likely to commit a crime in order to ‘discourage the anti-social behaviour’. Said that ‘this would probably be a large part of council’s operations’ in the future. This would be the role of policy in identifying ‘how to manage that in the future’. ‘This is the beginning, this is the first step’. He commends the motion.

DELAHUNTY: asked that since this is a ‘once off allocation of money’ then ‘how do we intend to understand what the costs of the operation are? and to ‘manage that on an ongoing basis’?

NEWTON: answered the question by stating that the offer was for ‘capital grants only’ so the government has to agree to give the funds ‘on a slightly different basis’. Also said that he ‘wasn’t quite sure how to account’ for any future costs but as far as possible they could ‘try to go with life-cycle’. Confirmed that it involved shifting the’ operational costs to us’.

DELAHUNTY: supported the idea of a public policy but not the cameras themselves. Said she was ‘uncomfortable’ with spending any of the money that could be used for other things. ‘I just don’t think there is a need for it’. Said the police, although they haven’t done an assessment would nominate other areas as more deserving of cameras. Quoted that ‘this is a solution in search of a problem’. Talked about the ‘important role that sport plays’ in giving adolescents ‘a pathway through life’ and ‘helps to alleviate anti-social behaviour’. ‘If you can spend $400,000 helping us improve the racecourse’ for sport then that’s worthwhile. Didn’t ‘think that this is a good use of money’. Since everyone is a ‘taxpayer’ then everyone would ‘have an opinion on how it’s better spent’. Said that what’s being proposed is for council ‘to step outside our privacy obligations’ and also to ‘play some sort of peace keeping role’. Thought that it was ‘a waste altogether’ but there is a need for a policy nevertheless for the future.

LIPSHUTZ: found it strange to be agreeing with Delahunty but if people wanted cameras then Hyams’ motion was ‘the appropriate one’. He wasn’t in favour of cctv cameras. Said that if there is a high crime rate then they are justified but there ‘is no high crime area’ in Glen Eira. Agreed that it was a solution ‘in search of a problem’ and ‘there is no problem’. Also didn’t ‘like the idea of people looking at us’. It’s not needed and all that’s happening is the argument we’ve got the money so ‘let’s take it and not waste it’.

SOUNNESS: said that he and Magee went to a security conference in recent weeks. The conference had a section on cctv cameras and the findings were that in ‘high crime’ areas the cameras weren’t a deterrent, but with ‘repeat offenders’ there was a good chance of ‘successful prosecution’ but ‘cameras themselves didn’t prevent’ the crime. Also quoted someone he had spoken with from Parramatta council and that it also wasn’t a good use of resources and that police were more important for crime prevention. Said that Ballarat council also had the same view. The costs and management can be large so the question is about ‘returns’ on this investment. Agreed about the need for policy and that it should answer such questions about ‘co-ordinating’ with owners who already have set up cameras. Overall he was ‘very uncomfortable with council taking on that role’ of supervising the cameras and ‘actually being the police person’.

LOBO: claimed that only ‘one person’ saw a ‘drunk man’ and that was the owner of a shop in Centre Rd. He thought that the real problem with Centre Rd was the ‘patients’ who frequent the methadone chemist. Asked ‘how long is a bit of string’ if there’s going to be monitoring.Thought that cctv was ‘the way to go’ but installing them ‘just because of one person’ isn’t the answer and that the real problem that ‘is creating hell’ is the methadone place. ‘So are we going to put the cctv just to focus on that?’ The other alternative is to ‘move the pharmacy to Moorabbin’.

OKOTEL: thought that cctv ‘will be of benefit to the Glen Eira community’. Gave an example of someone jumping over their back fence and then police coming and asking what was going on and she was told that ‘someone had been molested in Allnutt Park’. She’d ‘also heard’ that there were other unsavoury ‘activities’ in Allnutt Park. Therefore having cameras in parks would be of great assistance in ‘catching perpetrators of crime or preventing it potentially’. She was also told about a ‘laneway off Grange Road where drug deals occur’. They think that because ‘there is a light in that laneway they can see what they’re doing’. Police can’t ‘catch them’ but with cameras it ‘would be a benefit to the community’. There are also drug deals on stations. She’s also been told that where there is ‘footage’ it really helps in ‘prosecution’. She’s in favour of cameras ‘in spots where it’s necessary to have it’ and that ‘those spots can be identified through consultation’.

PILLING: commended Hyams for trying ‘to address all the issues that have been raised’. Thought that the money could be used to ‘build an adventure playground’ and that he ‘also shares’ Lipshutz’s concerns about ‘privacy’. Thought that a place like Chapel St was an appropriate place for cameras. ‘We’ve nothing like that here’.

HYAMS: answered Lobo that this ‘isn’t about one person getting attacked’ and that he’s talked with the Bentleigh traders and ‘they tell all sorts of stories’ about what’s been going on in Bentleigh – ie about offering alcohol to ‘small kids’; ‘assaults in shops’. Maybe this isn’t like the crime that goes on outside nightclubs but it’s still a ‘serious matter’ for the people involved. So ‘we should do what we can to prevent that happening’. Argued that if cameras ‘help catch the person committing the crime’ then it would stop ‘subsequent crimes’. Said that they could get advice from others about the ‘life time costs’ of the cameras. Said that he’d spoken to the Higgins MP and that if Glen Eira didn’t want the money that it would be handed over to Ashburton. Therefore it’s not a question of using that money for other things but losing that money entirely. Said that both Carnegie and Bentleigh traders would both be ‘very disappointed’ if this didn’t go through. ‘If the money comes along for something then we should do it’. Since there is cctv in the town hall ‘we might be sending the message’ that they spend the money on ‘themselves’ but ‘not so concerned’ about the community.

MOTION PUT and CARRIED. Voting for: Hyams, Okotel, Esakoff, Magee, Sounness. Voting against: Delahunty, Pilling, Lobo, Lipshutz

AND JUST FOR THE RECORD, HERE ARE SOME EXTRACTS FROM MP MILLER’S LITTLE SPIEL IN PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK –

Glen Eira CCTV cameras

MsMILLER (Bentleigh)—I direct my request to the Minister for Crime Prevention to provide an update on the commitment to install CCTV cameras in the city of Glen Eira, the dominant municipality in the Bentleigh electorate. At the 2010 election I made a commitment to provide funding of $150 000 to pay for the provision of CCTV cameras and infrastructure in Bentleigh. That money was made available to Glen Eira City Council after the coalition came to government, but so far the cameras have not been installed. ………

The coalition government has funded around 240 CCTV cameras in locations across metropolitan Melbourne and rural and regional Victoria. No matter the type of community, they all see the great value in having these cameras in place. In every one of these cases the relevant council has accepted the terms of the coalition’s funding promise—that is, that the state will pay for the infrastructure and the council will agree to pay for installation and maintenance. This has happened with every council except in the case of the City of Glen Eira.

On 18 November the coalition government announced that the funding it had promised the City of Kingston at the last election will pay for CCTV cameras at even more sites than had been anticipated. A recent survey conducted by the Department of Justice in the city of Kingston, which neighbours Glen Eira, showed that 85 per cent of residents supported the installation of CCTV cameras in their area. Through my discussions with local residents, shoppers and traders it is clear to me that there is enormous local support for CCTV cameras in the city of Glen Eira as well. The community believes the cameras will make a significant difference in keeping the community safe.

……..The action I seek is for the Minister for Crime Prevention to provide me with an update on the installation of CCTV cameras in the city of Glen Eira, given that the coalition has delivered this funding as promised.

COMMENT

So now, years and years down the track, the issue of whether or not Glen Eira gets cctv cameras is still in abeyance – dependent on the government’s agreement to the new found use for the money! Even if they agree, how many cameras will this mean, when potentially half of the funding could well be spent on actual installation etc?

A few more observations:

  • When it suits, Hyams finds no problem in arguing that his view coincides with that of the ‘community’. Pity the community is never asked on all major expenditures such as increasing car parks or knocking down trees in Centenary Park, Caulfield Park, Bailey Reserve, etc. etc.
  • Magee mentions the rotunda in Centre Rd. We note that this is another project that has been buried following ‘consultation’ years and years ago. Secondly, if the issue of graffiti has greatly improved, then it has got nothing to do with council, but the simple fact that the new owners of the old bank next door to the rotunda space have installed their own private cctv cameras! No one of course happened to mention this fact!

PS: We wonder if Lipshutz is aware that perhaps the police do not necessarily agree with him regarding the crime rate in Glen Eira. If they did, then perhaps there would be no need for the following trailer placement in Koornang Road in recent times!

crime

 

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