FEARS about overseas hacks spying on innocent people in the Redlands have been raised in a heated discussion between councillors about CCTV policy.
Cr Wendy Boglary said she wanted council to install cameras to help police catch hooligans misbehaving in public areas.
She said some Wellington Point residents were scared of unruly visitors to their recreation reserve.
Cameras would allow police to access footage of crimes occurring at council-owned or maintained areas, she said.
Currently, council policy allows for CCTV to be set up only to record property crimes against council assets, contraventions of local laws like illegal dumping and interactions between people in and around council buildings.
The policy was adopted in July, with mayor Karen Williams saying it was the state government’s responsibility through police to deal with issues like hooning and speeding.
But Cr Boglary said the criteria meant cameras could not be set up in places like parks where residents were being harassed, even if state government funding was secured.
“It is not about Wellington Point, it’s an example,” she said.
Cr Boglary called for anti-social behaviour to be included as a reason for CCTV to be set up where needed across the Redlands.
She tabled a petition supporting the policy change at council’s general meeting on Wednesday, December 12.
She said the petition was put together by a woman allegedly abused twice, including once with her grandparents, at Wellington Point reserve.
Cr Williams said difficulties defining anti-social behaviour meant the term was too broad. Some people might want council to install CCTV to record people they did not like the look of in public places.
“Anti-social behaviour is really broad despite other councils having it. It is probably giving them a headache,” Cr Williams said.
Cr Tracey Huges called for the policy to be tightened, given council officers could make decisions on where to install CCTV without scrutiny by councillors.
Cr Boglary said it was unfair that an application for CCTV at Wellington Point had been rejected on the grounds that not enough property crime had occurred there, despite residents calling for cameras.
Cr Paul Bishop raised concerns about malicious entities, like foreign spies, funding camera installation in the Redlands because council could not afford to do so.
Council staff will prepare further information for councillors on the issue before a decision on the policy is taken.
Outside of council, Cr Boglary said she believed council had a responsibility to use all tools available for residents’ safety.
“If cameras didn’t reduce impacts on residents why does every other local council continue to use them?” she said.
“I am glad the new policy is being reviewed as it wasn’t sufficient as it currently is and hopefully with further research anti-social behaviour can be added as a possible trigger…
“The policy has a criteria that has to be met before cameras can be installed and this would be the same once anti-social behaviour was added, so the fear cameras would be everywhere is not validated.
“This would include police opinion and funding available.”