Dash­cam footage leads to ar­rest

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

A new dash­cam be­ing used by a team of vol­un­teers with Whangārei Com­mu­nity Pa­trol has proved its worth on the first night of op­er­a­tion with one per­son ar­rested for dis­or­derly be­hav­iour.

The pa­trols act as eyes and ears for the po­lice by pa­trolling res­i­den­tial, busi­ness and in­dus­trial ar­eas around the city.

A tech up­grade to the lat­est dash­cam has boosted the pa­trols’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties. They have the lat­est Mivue860 dash­cam with high def­i­ni­tion front and rear cam­eras, GPS track­ing, Sony low light sen­sor, and wi-fi, do­nated by Nav­man GPS.

The new equip­ment was used for the first time on Guy Fawkes night last month and re­sulted in an ar­rest.

Pa­troller Adam Young said there was some dis­or­derly be­hav­iour around the city on the night. “Po­lice were un­able to im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­ports of dis­or­der at an im­por­tant tourism lo­ca­tion, so they tasked the Com­mu­nity Pa­trol to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

The job of the pa­trols was to ob­serve and re­port to po­lice if a sit­u­a­tion got out of hand.

“Nor­mally we ar­rive on scene and things break up once they re­alise we are watch­ing, but the sit­u­a­tion got quite se­ri­ous this time and we con­tacted the po­lice. For­tu­nately, the whole in­ci­dent was caught in crys­tal clear footage,” Young said.

Tra­di­tion­ally af­ter an in­ci­dent takes place the Com­mu­nity Pa­trol sub­mits a re­port to po­lice.

How­ever, if an of­fender de­nies

‘Nor­mally we ar­rive on scene and things break up once they re­alise we are watch­ing, but the sit­u­a­tion got quite se­ri­ous this time and we con­tacted the po­lice. For­tu­nately, the whole in­ci­dent was caught in crys­tal clear footage.’ ADAM YOUNG

wrong­do­ing, de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion, lay­ing charges was not al­ways straight­for­ward.

“In this case we were 100 me­tres away and we could still make out what was go­ing on in the footage and who was mak­ing the trou­ble. Po­lice said the footage was con­clu­sive and in the end there was an ar­rest.”

The new cam­era al­lows the pa­trollers to con­nect to their smart­phone with Wi-fi and in­stantly share footage.

Sergeant James Calvert from the Whangārei Area Preven­tion Team said they are al­ways in­ter­ested in re­ceiv­ing footage from the pub­lic.

“It is ab­so­lutely vi­tal the po­lice and the com­mu­nity at large co-op­er­ate to pre­vent and solve crime. With­out that co­op­er­a­tion and in­for­ma­tion flow the po­lice could not func­tion,” he said. “While a de­scrip­tion of how an of­fender as­saulted some­one can tell a story, the video of it hap­pen­ing is far more com­pelling and can show lots of other de­tails in­clud­ing fa­cial ex­pres­sions, de­ter­mi­na­tion, or how hard some­one may have punched.”

Dash­cam footage has be­come pop­u­lar with Face­book com­mu­ni­ties and web­sites ded­i­cated to up­load­ing the de­ba­cles on Kiwi roads, but po­lice can’t mon­i­tor ev­ery­thing.

“Po­lice are ac­tive in this space but can­not mon­i­tor ev­ery­thing all the time. If peo­ple are aware of footage show­ing of­fend­ing on the in­ter­net then please let us know, just like any other crime,” Calvert said.

Young be­lieves hav­ing the new high-tech cam­era will make the job of pa­trolling eas­ier. “The cam­era doesn’t lie. Look­ing over the footage again you might re­call an ex­tra bit of in­for­ma­tion that proves use­ful. Be­cause of the qual­ity of the footage, on this oc­ca­sion we may not even have to at­tend court to give ev­i­dence.”

Young be­gan work­ing for the Whangārei Com­mu­nity Pa­trol six years ago af­ter he was at­tacked at a ser­vice sta­tion and de­cided he wanted to help pre­vent these types of in­ci­dents. “If you see some­thing sus­pi­cious, ring po­lice even if it’s a small thing. They would rather in­ves­ti­gate than al­low some­thing bad to hap­pen.”

PHOTO / SI­MON LEE-JOHN­SON

Whanga¯ rei Com­mu­nity Pa­trol are out on the beat with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to record those en­gag­ing in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

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