Bay keen to regulate ‘spy’ cameras

A security camera in Gomery Avenue, Walmer Heights

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is on a mission to regulate licence plate recognition (LPR) cameras in a bid to reduce the high rate of crime in the city.

As private security companies install more LPR cameras, the municipality will embark on an audit to find out exactly how many are in the city.

The municipality will also set out to draft a policy that would guide the regulation.

Safety and security political head John Best said this assisted the metro police and South African Police Service (SAPS) in apprehending criminals sooner.

“We cannot have people installing cameras on corners of streets where it could be a danger to traffic.

“Each one should be evaluated to make sure that we stay within the concepts of the different by-laws,” Best said.

He said the model was part of a private public partnership initiative and was already successful in Cape Town.

“The reason why we have to control it is the footage obtained on these cameras. We want that footage to come through the metro police control room.

“If there is a suspect vehicle that the SAPS have identified, it will get loaded onto the database as soon as it is picked up by the cameras and it will trigger the system for that wanted person,” Best said.

A steering committee has also been established and will head up the operation.

In a report tabled in the safety and security standing committee meeting on Thursday, Andre de Ridder, who was standing in for executive director Shane Brown, wrote that there was no way to ascertain how many LRP cameras were currently in the city.

“This may affect investigation processes and information-gathering exercises. Currently such installations are decentralised under the control of whichever organisation or person has ownership of the system,” De Ridder wrote.

Safety and security acting executive director Brown said knowing how many cameras were in the city would ensure arrests were made quicker.

“Vehicles can be tracked around the city; you would be able to pick them up sooner rather than just relying on people.

“The cameras are dedicated to pick up these vehicles but now they will send the alarm out,” Brown said.

Atlas Security group marketing manager Wayne Hart said there was a memorandum of understanding in place with the municipality with regard to information sharing.

“Although this assists us in service delivery to our clients, it will allow for access to camera footage to be shared between us and the municipality for better allocation of security resources. We have already experienced massive success with these cameras which have led to arrests.”

All the cameras were linked to the Atlas Security control room which allowed the company to react faster and prevent crime.

Leave a Reply