Report on city’s CCTV use
Horsham Rural City Council has welcomed a Victorian Auditor-general’s Office report into closed-circuit television, CCTV, in public places as it strives to improve public safety while protecting people’s privacy.
Auditor-general Andrew Greeves’ report, tabled in State Parliament, showed the council could improve the way it managed information gathered via public safety cameras.
Horsham Rural City was one of five Victorian councils randomly audited, along with the cities of Melbourne, Whitehorse and Hume and East Gippsland Shire Council. The report found all five councils used surveillance technology legitimately, but the systems needed to be managed better to comply with privacy laws.
Horsham council operates public CCTV systems primarily in the city’s central activity district, to enhance community safety.
There are also corporate security systems installed at Horsham Town Hall and Kalkee Road Children’s and Community Hub.
Horsham chief executive Sunil Bhalla said the council had already responded to 10 recommendations from the report.
“The priority is the final adoption of council’s CCTV policy, which is currently in draft form,” he said.
“Other key areas we are addressing include improving physical security and access controls for corporate CCTV systems and more regularly assessing whether those controls are working.
“The response to the Victorian Auditor-general’s Office recommendations includes a timeframe for completion of the actions required to satisfy each recommendation.”
Mr Bhalla stressed no security breaches for Horsham’s public security systems had been raised.
“We had no incidents of inappro- priate use of surveillance systems or footage. The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner also had no such complaints,” he said.
“A strength of council’s current public CCTV systems is that the data is securely housed at Horsham Police Station and viewable only by police.
“This provides a significant level of protection and ensures the information is only used for appropriate purposes.
“Notwithstanding this, council accepts the recommendations of the report – that council should be able to demonstrate that it is securely maintaining these systems to prevent any such breach.”