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Background to CCTV in public streets

In early 2017 the University proposed installing CCTV cameras in the public streets around the campus in response to upward trends in crime being reported to the Proctor’s Office over the past few years and increases in non-students targeting students.

What were the details of the proposal?

The proposal was for cameras in 60 locations in the streets around campus, installed in two stages, following consultation with students.

Original proposed camera locations:

What was the process and timeline?

April 2017Council agrees to a proposal to install cameras in public streets around campus with student consultation
May 2017OUSA includes CCTV in public streets in their student referendum. 3,702 students vote on CCTV. 51.22% oppose, 48.78 do not.
June 2017University and OUSA President develop a more in-depth consultation process
July-August 2017Formal student consultation period
September 2017University staff and OUSA Executive members review student consultation feedback, summarise, and present to University management
September 2017University considers feedback and meets with OUSA President to discuss making changes to proposal
October 2017Revised proposal with fewer cameras and clearer conditions approved and announced via media and social media
November 2017Land use consent issued by Dunedin City Council to allow cameras equipment to be physically installed
December 2017Request for tenders for suppliers to provide and install cameras
February-March 20182017 CCTV policy approved by Council. Signage installed for existing cameras
March-April 2018Students and public notified of cameras in public streets around campus. Cameras installed in stage 1 areas
Late 2018Evaluation of effectiveness of cameras and report to University management on findings

How were students consulted?

A formal student consultation was undertaken in the middle of 2017 with email feedback sought. Meetings were held with student leaders, as well as a lunchtime open student forum. Students could also talk to the University by phone or email questions. The consultation was promoted via the email, media, social media, and advertising around campus.

What was the result of the consultation?

98 students or groups of students provided feedback, 57 supporting, 34 opposing, and 7 neutral or with no position stated. The main themes of students’ feedback were:

  • Feeling safe, preventing crime, and being able to catch offenders
  • Maintaining their privacy – both in line with the Privacy Act 1993 and as a general moral concern
  • High estimated costs of the proposal
  • Whether it’s the University’s job to operate cameras in public streets
  • Possible negative effects on student culture of CCTV monitoring
  • Live camera feeds and the potential to monitor and punish normal student behaviour
  • Getting the CCTV policy right

The University was able to respond to students concerns:

Students said:University's response:
The number of locations and cameras seem high for the coverage required.Number of locations in stage 1 reduced from 29 to 18 and the number of cameras from 37 to 26.
The number and locations of stage 2 cameras will be considered following the evaluation of stage 1.
Any evaluation of the effectiveness of cameras should be independent of the staff overseeing and operating the cameras.The evaluation will be undertaken independent of the Proctor’s Office.
There needs to be ongoing student consultation on CCTV.The University will keep working with student leaders as cameras are installed and evaluated and take their feedback into account.
There should be a range of information available to students about CCTV and new cameras going up, including a hard copy pamphlet for students.There will be information about CCTV, including the pamphlet and these will be shared face-to-face with students, on the web and on social media.
There needs to be signage in place.Signage is being installed in all areas where CCTV cameras operate and referenced in the CCTV policy.
Are CCTV cameras going to be used to police and discipline student behaviour?The purpose and use of CCTV cameras has been made clearer in the CCTV policy. The policy states that cameras aren’t to be used to police non-criminal student behaviour.
Will cameras be able to see into private property? Shouldn’t private property be private?The policy states where cameras will be able to see and where there will be black-outs in the software to protect privacy.
What’s the story with covert cameras?It was made clearer in the policy that temporary or covert cameras only relate to University property and not public streets.
Requests for footage need to be clearer.The policy states that a production order or request for review of CCTV footage can trigger a review of CCTV footage, and that only the Proctor’s Office can process these requests.
What complaint processes are there?An individual can complain to the Director, Student Services if they are unhappy with the Proctor's decision following a request to review CCTV footage.
An individual can complain to the University’s Privacy Officer is there’s been a breach of the Privacy Act 1993.
The University should focus on better preparing students for flatting life and making it easier to do the right thing in flatting areas.More effort will be put into promoting our flatting information to students and promoting OUSA’s Support Centre range of flatting advice and advocacy services.
The Proctor’s Office is working on initiatives like the glass ban and more recycling in the student flatting areas.
Some of the student behaviour is due to a lack of events and activities for students on and around campus.A University campus events committee is considering this feedback and looking at how to build up a more vibrant campus experience. It is working with OUSA on ideas and ways to support the huge range of activities and ideas OUSA has too.

What was the final plan that was agreed?

The final plan that was approved by Council in October 2017 was for 26 cameras in 18 locations in stage 1, an independent evaluation of their effectiveness before deciding on stage 2 cameras. All CCTV cameras in public streets will be operated in line with the University’s CCTV policy.

Final stage 1 camera locations (stage 2 to be determined after the evaluation).