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Council turns an eagle eye on vandalism

Businesses and community assets on Eagle Street will soon enjoy protection against vandalism and anti-social behaviour thanks to new closed circuit security cameras being installed by Longreach Regional Council this week.

Council says it is deploying the cameras in seven locations along Eagle Street to discourage and detect unlawful behaviour. It cites the recent vandalism of trees, public bathrooms, and Christmas decorations as a catalyst for the added security measures.

Chief Executive Officer, Ian Bodill, said the regular nature of vandalism in public bathrooms was of particular concern.

“For a while our staff would arrive to clean the bathrooms and find them in a terrible state, day after day” he explained. “There was one piece of equipment that was regularly ripped off the wall – each time we replaced it, we’d return to find it ripped out again.

“There is also someone who, for reasons unknown, is going to the bathroom on the floor every day – we think somewhere between lunchtime and four in the afternoon. Hopefully the cameras will put them off or at least help us catch them.”

The Mayor, Cr Ed Warren, said although it was not a major concern the cameras would still improve public safety.

“It’s not like Eagle Street is unsafe or anything, we’re mostly concerned about protecting our community assets, but these measures will add another level of personal safety for people using our main street.”

In addition to Eagle Street, Council plans to progressively roll out nine more cameras in strategic locations around Longreach, with a view to protecting public assets. 

District Inspector Mark Henderson of the Queensland Police Service welcomed the addition of the security cameras, saying the system could be of assistance in police investigations. 

“It’s a positive step the Council is taking and I can certainly foresee us making use of this system in the future” he said. “There’s a strict process we follow when requesting access to the footage and ultimately it’s the community that will benefit.”

The Mayor said Council had a process for addressing privacy concerns as a result of the cameras.

“Anyone wanting access has to fill in an Information Privacy (IP) Act Access Application or Right To Information (RTI) Application’ he explained. “The governance protections are very robust, we have our own CCTV policy, and we are bound by the Information Privacy Act 2009 at all times.” 

More information, including Council’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Policy, is available from the Council website at: longreach.qld.gov.au/cctv.