The University uses non-audio closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on campus, in and around Unipol, and in residential colleges to take care of both property and people.
CCTV footage is kept for 30 days then overwritten. CCTV footage can be used to help track down lost and stolen property, and help catch offenders. CCTV cameras are overseen by the Proctor’s Office. The University’s Privacy Officer ensures individuals’ privacy is protected and investigates complaints if breaches of the Privacy Act 1993 occur.
CCTV on public streets proposal
In October 2017 the University announced that it would go ahead with installing a number of CCTV cameras in public streets around campus. This is in response to upward trends in crime reported to the Proctor’s Office over the past few years and increases in non-student offenders targeting students. Cameras do not record sound and software has functionality built into it to black out private property.
The proposal to install cameras in 60 locations on public streets in 2 stages was initially considered by Council in April 2017. Council agreed to the proposal starting with consulting with students to get their feedback to it. In mid-2017 a formal consultation process was undertaken, and based on student feedback the number of locations and number of cameras were reduced, the CCTV policy and rules were tightened, and it was decided that the evaluation of the cameras’ effectiveness would be undertaken by an independent party.
|Revised camera locations for stage 1||Original proposed camera locations|
CCTV on public streets timeline
Student feedback on CCTV in public streets
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
Changes to CCTV as a result of student feedback
|Students said:||We've responded by:|
|The number of locations and cameras seem high for the coverage required.|
Reducing the number of locations in stage 1 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 by an external organisation and will be tendered for.|
|There needs to be ongoing student consultation on CCTV.||The University will keep consulting with student representative groups as they install cameras and evaluate them, 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 online and hard copy information about CCTV, including the pamphlet and these will be shared face-to-face with students and on social media.|
|There needs to be signage in place.||Signage is being installed in all areas where CCTV cameras operate.|
|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 providing flatting information to students, getting education into the Colleges, 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 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.|
A University policy explains how CCTV cameras can be used and protects the legal privacy rights of individuals. Other University policies like the Ethical Behaviour Policy also apply. Students were asked for feedback on a draft of the policy as part of the CCTV student consultation.
The policy states that CCTV cameras are only to be used for safety and crime prevention. Full records, staff logs, and records of footage requests and actions will be kept securely with the Proctor. Only approved staff will have permission to monitor live and/or recorded footage, and will receive technical, legal and ethics training first.
Police can request recorded footage in connection with criminal investigations using a Production Order or Search Warrant. Individuals can also request that the Proctor’s Office review footage if they’ve been the victim of a crime by contacting the Proctor’s Office direct.
Changes to CCTV policy as a result of student feedback
|Students said:||We've responded by:|
|The purpose of the policy and the use of CCTV cameras owned and operated by the University has been made clearer.||Making the purpose clearer to readers.|
|Are CCTV cameras going to be used to police and discipline student behaviour?||The policy explicitly 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?||Ensuring that individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy when on private property by stating 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.|
|Signage is needed under the Privacy Act 1993.||Signage requirements are stated in the policy.|
|Requests for footage under the Privacy Act 1993 and other authority are more explicit.||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?||Ensuring that there’s a publicised complaints process. 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.|
If you have been the victim of a crime and need help, contact:
- Police | Fire | Ambulance ph: 111
- University Proctor ph: 0800 479 5000
- OUSA Support Centre Ph: 03 479 5449 | ousa.org.nz/support
You can contact us with any questions you have about the CCTV project by emailing Rachel Currie at email@example.com