The use of CCTV is recognised as a beneficial tool in supporting policing functions that seek to manage high crime locations and matters of public order.
Victoria Police welcomes the opportunity to work with local councils in relation to the establishment of public area CCTV programs where there is a demonstrated need to do so. Victoria Police has successfully partnered with a number of local councils in such arrangements which have provided significant benefits to local communities.
The establishment of this type of program requires careful consideration from a policing perspective. Victoria Police has outlined below how they can contribute to the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of CCTV initiatives.
Victoria Police highly recommends the use of the following documents:
Where police members will have direct access to footage, or where any equipment will be installed within Police premises, then the approved Memorandum of Understanding must be entered into.
The following principles must be considered prior to establishing a CCTV program with Victoria Police:
- Victoria Police is not responsible for the establishment, repair, replacement, maintenance, operation or funding for the operation of the CCTV program
- Victoria Police involvement in a CCTV program will be to a level that its local resources and priorities allow
- Victoria Police will not constantly monitor a CCTV system. The MOU will describe the circumstances under which monitoring may be conducted
- Victoria Police must have the ability to access and download footage in accordance with protocols referenced in the MOU
- Victoria Police will coordinate training of local police in their responsibilities in relation to the CCTV program as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding and Victoria Police Policies
Victoria Police will determine the appropriate level and priority of responses required to incidents according to availability of resources and existing priorities.
Understanding the problem
A CCTV proposal should demonstrate the reasons for wanting to establish a CCTV system and define the objectives of having such a system. It is recommended that councils engage their Victoria Police Local Area Commander into their working group to assist in this activity as they will have an understanding of the type and extent of public safety and criminal activity in the area. Contact with the relevant Local Area Commander can be made through your local police station.
Letters of support
The Department of Justice and Regulation requires that council applications that request funding for CCTV projects include a letter of support from the relevant Victoria Police Local Area Commander. If it is proposed that Victoria Police will have a role in the monitoring or storage of CCTV footage, the letter of support must also confirm this role. Local Area Commanders are only able to provide this letter of support if they believe that CCTV is justified based on the type and number of offences at proposed CCTV sites taking into consideration the introduction of any alternative crime prevention approaches.
Obtaining a statistical baseline
Crime statistics for the area councils wish to focus on may be required in order to support a CCTV proposal. Statistics may also assist councils to evaluate the effectiveness of the CCTV implementation on an ongoing basis. Statistical information is available from the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA).
In order to facilitate the use of CCTV footage for incident monitoring and evidentiary purposes, there are technical standards and logistical aspects to consider. Advice from security experts is highly recommended.
Memorandum of Understanding
Victoria Police have developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) templates to assist in formalising CCTV arrangements with local councils.