The rollout of new CCTV cameras to trouble spots within the City of Sydney LGA has been fast-tracked, after a motion by Liberal Councillor Christine Forster was approved at Monday night’s Council meeting.
The motion noted that alcohol-related violence was a complex issue and that its mitigation involved various authorities including the State Government, NSW Police, liquor and hotel industry representatives, health authorities and NGOs.
“But one area in which the City of Sydney does have authority to act is in the installation of CCTV cameras,” said Ms Forster.
“The City of Sydney’s Open Sydney policy makes the installation of CCTV cameras in problem areas a ‘priority action’ and there’s now a pressing need for the City to make good on this pledge,” she said.
The motion resolved that the City’s CEO have further meetings with the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation and report back to Council in the first quarter of 2014 on locations, times and funding.
Ten new camera locations – including one where Thomas Kelly was attacked on the corner of Victoria St and Darlinghurst Rd in Kings Cross – have so far been identified as options.
Labor Councillor Linda Scott agreed with the moves but asked Ms Forster whether CCTV cameras “prevented alcohol-related crimes or merely recorded them”.
Ms Forster told City News: “I don’t claim that CCTV of itself stops people behaving badly but it does assist police in prosecutions and it’s my understanding that the CCTV cameras are continually monitored – so when an incident is occurring, it allows for police intervention.
“When people are aware that they are being filmed – when it’s really well advertised – I do think people are probably less likely to misbehave,” she added.
Ms Scott said CCTV should only be “one part” of the solution.
“I think we’re working on lots and lots of strategies around the edges of the problem but not addressing the real issue – and that is that Kings Cross is saturated with licensed premises,” she said.
Earlier, Ms Forster’s proposal attracted high-profile support from former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull AO.
In a joint statement released with Ms Forster last week, Ms Turnbull said: “The installation of street safety cameras began as a very important innovation in the late 1990s and has always had bipartisan support in Council. The programme now needs to expand in response to changing circumstances and new problem areas in the City.”