A new mobile closed circuit TV (CCTV) trailer will be used all year round in Sutherland Shire to provide greater safety at community events and target crime “hot spots”.
The federal government provided $138,516 from its Safer Communities Fund to purchase the solar-powered, rapid deployment unit for Sutherland Shire Council.
Treasurer and Cook MP Scott Morrison, and mayor Carmelo Pesce launched the unit, and were given a demonstration of its capabilities, at Dunningham Park, North Cronulla, on Friday.
The unit took just 10 minutes to set up before cameras attached to the mast were transmitting high-definition, real-time images back to a control centre at Cronulla police station.
The cameras rotated to cover the entire surrounding area and zoomed in and out as directed.
From its position close to Peryman Square, the number plates of cars parked in the council car park on the northern side of North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club about 250 metres away could be identified.
Cameras can be operated on site or remotely.
Mr Morrison said the unit was “an important tool for managing situations and proactive policing”.
“When you have great technology like this, you don’t need fixed installations everywhere,” he said
“Today, this sort of stuff is not ‘nice to have’, it’s ‘need to have’.
“It should be standard issue, really, and that’s why the program we have had in place for some years is designed to fill that gap.”
Cr Pesce said the council had hired CCTV trailers for Australia Day celebrations at Cronulla and Illawong for the last four years.
However, following events overseas, there was greater demand for hired units, so it was important the council had its own.
“We will use it as often as we can,” he said.
“For community events, it gives us an idea of what is happening with traffic management, pedestrian control and weather conditions.
“Because it can be moved anywhere quickly – attached to the back of a car – it can also be used for crime hot spots, such as locations where drug deals are done.”
Sutherland police local area commander Julian Griffiths said hired CCTV trailers had proved invaluable on Australia Day at Illawong.
”When I first arrived at Sutherland, you couldn’t see what was happening at the events,” he said.
“You had to rely on information coming back,” he said.
“Having real-time imagery to see how crowds are gathering and potential escalation of issues, so you can put [police] in the right spots its invaluable.
“CCTV, compared with relying on verbal information, is oranges and apples.”