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Have your say on CCTV

The University of Otago is proposing installing CCTV cameras at 60 locations in public streets around campus in its ongoing efforts to keep students and our wider community safe.

We’d like to know what students think about the proposal and policy we’re developing to govern all our CCTV cameras. Any feedback is welcome, and will be treated as anonymous.

Student feedback closes 5pm, Friday 4 August 2017.

Consultation & timeframes

July 2017:Student consultation. 
You can give any feedback you wish by:

Your feedback will be treated as anonymous

24 July 2017:Consultation meeting between University and OUSA Executive
27 July 2017 12pm:Open student forum in the Union common room to discuss and provide your feedback in person
4 August 2017:Student feedback due
August 2017:University / OUSA working party to consider feedback and present findings to the Vice-Chancellor
August 2017:Results of student consultation, decision, and any next steps announced by University and OUSA

 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

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.

Process to date on this proposal

November 2016:The Chief Operating Officer presented a proposal to the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Group (VCAG) for their consideration. He asked for permission to formally consult, and for agreement to the first installation of cameras. VCAG agreed, with funding to be decided after consultation, and a second installation of cameras to be considered after an assessment of the effectiveness of the first installation.
April 2017:

The Chief Operating Officer briefed the University Council on the proposal and that he would begin consulting with OUSA and other key stakeholders.

May/June 2017:

The University notified OUSA of the proposal and began talks about developing a consultation process. OUSA included CCTV in their Referendum to gauge the level of student opposition or support in this proposal. Only 3,702 students, (approx. 18%) responded with 51.22% saying OUSA should oppose it and 48.78% saying they shouldn’t. The University and OUSA then agreed to a scope and process to hear from all students where they can provide broad or specific feedback on the proposal for the University to take into account before making a final decision.