Why do we have Community Safety Cameras in Lower Hutt?
Several years ago our community asked Council to do more towards making Lower Hutt a safer place to live, work and play.
We found that providing a camera network would not only record safety incidents, but also detect and initiate a response when (or ideally before) problems occurred.
We follow a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF 314 KB) that sets out our obligations under the Privacy Act, and that guides how we work with Hutt Safe City, Upper Hutt city Council and the Police.
What do the cameras look for?
- Property damage
- Anti-social behaviour
- Breach of liquor bans
- Traffic incidents
These categories are selected because Police statistics show that these categories are of concern in the camera’s area of operation. If there is a serious crime of another nature, the cameras will play a role in getting help to the scene as soon as possible, and/or helping with a Police investigation later.
Where are the cameras situated?
Take a look at our latest maps showing the locations of our CCTV cameras (PDF 13 MB)
Areas being monitored by our cameras are identified with the following signs:
Is there anyone watching from the other side?
Quite often, yes.
A dedicated team of volunteers give up their own time to help make Lower Hutt a better place. Like us, they are members of the Lower Hutt community. All operators are vetted by Police and selected for their commitment and values. They also receive thorough training and operate by a strict code of conduct.
If you would like to be part of a team that makes a real difference to the safety of the Hutt Valley, then contact the Co-ordinator at Info.HuttCCTV@gmail.com
Are they recording?
Yes. All cameras are recording 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What does Council do with the recorded information?
Council stores the footage for one month.
During that time, if required it is available for Police to use in their investigations. Police must make an application to Council outlining the need for the recorded information. If the request meets the criteria (as set by the Privacy Act 1993, and the memorandum of understanding between Hutt City Council and the New Zealand Police) then a copy of the specific incident will be made. This copy will then enter into the Police’s strict exhibits procedure.
How effective are they?
Very effective. Between 2 December 2013 and 10 November 2014, the Community Safety Cameras reported 688 incidents.
One particular camera operator foiled a ATM skimming ring that had committed $500,000 of fraud around New Zealand.
More frequently, the cameras are detecting breach of liquor bans, suspicious or anti-social activity and assaults. Our operators then initiate a response from either Police, Hutt City Council’s Safe City Ambassadors, or the local Community Patrols. The cameras are also extremely effective in providing evidence in Police investigations that have been critical in securing many successful prosecutions.
Is this an invasion of my privacy?
Hutt City Council and the Police are dedicated to ensuring that the community’s right to privacy is paramount. In planning this camera system, Council has strictly followed the Privacy Commissioner's guidelines by engaging with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner throughout the development of this camera system. Council are confident that everything has been done to ensure the need for privacy, while having an effective community safety tool.
If you have any concerns regarding your privacy, please contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
Can I get a copy of the recorded camera footage?
Address any request to Council's Privacy Officer.
Requests should include:
- your name
- your postal address
- preferred email address
- details of the information you want.
Your request should be as clear and specific as possible. You can specify the format you want the information presented in, for example, by email or in hard copy.
How long will it take?
We’ll acknowledge your request as soon as practicable and are required by law to respond no later than 20 working days after we receive it. For large requests or those requiring consultation, the Act allows for a reasonable extension to this time limit. If so, we’ll let you know and give you a specific due date.
If you amend your request, the 20 working days will start from the day after this amendment has been received. If we need to clarify your request and do so within the first seven working days, the 20 working day timeframe will begin again once the clarified request is confirmed. This is because we’ll be unable to process your request until it is clear.
The OIA says information should be made available unless there is good reason to withhold it. We may only withhold information for specific reasons set out in the Act. If this occurs, we’ll explain the reasons why.
For more information refer to sections 6, 9 and 18 of the OIA.
If you're unhappy with our response, you have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Chief Ombudsman recommends contacting us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue.
Who can I contact for more information?
If you would like to know more about Council’s Community Safety Cameras, please contact:
The City Safety Manager
Hutt City Council
T: 04 570 6666