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Have your say on CCTV

The University of Otago is looking at installing CCTV cameras at 60 locations in public streets around campus as part of its focus on keeping students and the rest of our community safe.

We’ve asked students for their feedback on this proposal and the draft CCTV policy that will underpin how all University operated CCTV cameras can be used. Students were able to come along and talk to University management at the OUSA Referendum forum in May and vote on the issue of CCTV in the Referendum, submit their feedback directly to the University or via OUSA over July and August, attend a student forum on CCTV, talk to their OUSA Executive or the University direct. Meetings were also held with the OUSA Executive and Te Roopū Māori.

Student feedback

3,702 students voted on the topic of CCTV in the OUSA Referendum. 51.22% said OUSA should oppose the CCTV proposal and 48.78% said they shouldn’t.

98 submissions were received from students or groups of students during the formal consultation period. 57 submissions supported CCTV if it was for safety and crime prevention reasons, 34 submissions opposed the proposal, and 7 were neutral or didn’t state a position.

A working party of UoO staff and OUSA members reviewed the student feedback and summarised it into a report that they have presented to the University.
Download the Report on feedback from student consultation on CCTV

Next steps

The report on student feedback is currently being considered by the Chief Operating Officer and Vice-Chancellor.

Process & timeframes

September 2017 University considering report
August 2017 Report on feedback from student consultation on CCTV prepared by working party
July-August 2017
Formal student consultation period
June 2017 University and OUSA developed consultation process for students to have their say on proposal
May 2017 OUSA Referendum includes question on CCTV
May 2017 Discussions begin with OUSA on consulting with students
April 2017 University Council briefed on proposal and that discussions would begin OUSA and other key stakeholders
November 2016 CCTV proposal presented to the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Group (VCAG)

 Background to the proposal

Safety and crime trends

The numbers of crimes committed in Dunedin are low, however there has been an upward trend in reports to the Proctor’s Office over the past few years. We’ve also experienced an increase in non-students coming into the areas around campus to target students and carry out criminal behaviour like assaults, thefts, and property damage.

In the first 6 months of 2017 51 thefts were reported to the Proctor’s Office, compared with 43 for the first 6 months of 2015. Similarly there were 38 acts of violence reported to the Proctor’s Office in the first 6 months of 2017 compared with 19 reports in the first 6 months of 2015.
Most recently police reported that a spate of at least 12 flat break-ins in the student quarter over the recent weekend of 10-11 June 2017.

thefts & violence statistics

The University is serious about the safety of our students, staff, and visitors. We’ve been considering ways to build on the pastoral care and safety work Campus Watch does to improve safety, deter criminal behaviour, and help identify and prosecute offenders. Installing CCTV cameras is a visible deterrent, and provides us with physical evidence that can be used to prosecute offenders.

Proposal details

The proposal is for cameras to be installed in 60 locations on power poles and buildings in public streets around campus. There are already CCTV cameras in 400 locations within University buildings and on campus. The cameras would not have audio recording capabilities.

Cameras would be installed in stages:

  • Late 2017 - 1st stage (zones 1 & 2)
  • 2018 – 2nd stage (zones 3 & 4)

Map of proposed camera locations

Draft CCTV Policy

All CCTV would be governed by a CCTV policy that protects students’ legal and privacy rights. Existing University policies, such as the Ethical Behaviour Policy, would also apply. The University’s Privacy Officer would act on behalf of students, ensuring the CCTV policy in place and is being followed.

Download the draft CCTV Policy

The draft CCTV policy states that:

  • Software within the cameras allows private areas to be blacked out.  The University’s Privacy Officer would verify that these are in place.
  • Only approved staff would have permission to monitor live and/or recorded footage, and would receive technical, legal and ethics training first.
  • Recorded footage would be kept for 30 days then overwritten.  Footage would be housed in a secure location.
  • Police could request recorded footage in connection with ongoing criminal investigations using a Production Order, Search Warrant or Privacy Act Information Request.
  • Requests for recorded footage from students, staff, or other agencies would only be given in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993 and other relevant legislation.
  • Full records, staff logs, and records of footage requests and actions would be kept securely with the Proctor.