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CCTV request

Wednesday, 20th February, 2008

Police are asking local businesses to help them fight crime by giving them wider access to footage taken from closed-circuit television cameras.

The CCTV footage is already used by police when a crime is committed inside or outside a business house, but now the NSW Police Force is seeking to have it put on a statewide database. The information obtained from the footage will be used by police to map CCTV locations across NSW. This will allow police officers to contact business owners and obtain vision for investigations without unnecessary delay, according to Assistant Commissioner, Bob Waites.

CCTV is widely used in shops, bank teller machines, airports and on public transport, but police have never had a central database from which to track down footage that could be useful in an investigation, said Assistant Commissioner Waits, who is also the Head of the Operational Communications and Information Command.

He urged business owners across the State to help police by joining a register of CCTV systems. This can be done via the internet on www.police.nsw.gov.au/cctv_register "Once up and running, this register will be a crucial investigative tool for the State's police officers," AC Waites said. "They will be able to quickly identify whether there is a CCTV system installed in or around the area where an offence has occurred and, if so, source the vision as part of their inquiries."

In NSW CCTV footage has been used not only to catch shoplifters but to solve many serious crimes and to find missing persons. For example, it was used to catch a man who had tried to rob a woman in 2003 and in 2004 when a man's body was found in a wheelie bin in Sydney, his death was regarded as suspicious until footage showed him climbing into the bin himself. In London, police used CCTV footage to identify and track the movements of suspects linked to the terrorist bombings of 2005.

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