Thirty-three CCTV cameras will be installed across the Whakatāne District before the end of the year.
Eleven existing cameras will also be upgraded and a three-year contract for ongoing monitoring will be awarded, after Whakatāne District Council agreed unanimously with the recommended locations and priorities of cameras presented to them at this month’s meeting.
In 2022, Council received $1 million from the Department of Internal Affairs Better Off Funding package to deliver and upgrade the existing network with modern cameras, add additional cameras to the network and improve system monitoring abilities.
The initial phase of the project included collaborating with NZ Police to identify high-risk areas, and seeking input from key community members from across the district to highlight areas of concern from a local perspective. Independent experts were also involved throughout the process to provide advice based on similar projects in other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Council General Manager Strategy and Transformation, Steven Perdia says the recommendations put to Council were based on robust information and community engagement with representation from across the district.
“The new cameras, and those being upgraded, are relatively evenly spread throughout the four community board areas,” Mr Perdia explains.
“It was important to us, and NZ Police, that the focus wasn’t solely on the Whakatāne township or CBD. This outcome will benefit all communities within the Whakatāne District.”
The proposed camera locations were prioritised from critical to low, and all those in the critical and high categories were approved for installation using the Better Off Funding. There is potential for other funding streams to cover the medium and low-priority cameras in future, Council said.
The majority of cameras rated as critical priority were Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) devices, which will be positioned at entrances to, and exits from, the Whakatāne District.
The budget also allowed for investment in a mobile CCTV unit to support NZ Police in areas where there is ad-hoc criminal activity.
Mr Perdia says the next stage of the project is procurement, with the intention that all cameras will be installed by the end of 2023.
“There will be an open tender process very shortly to award the contract for purchasing and installing the cameras. This will be followed by a similar scenario for the 24/7 monitoring contract,” he says.
“We will ensure our communities are kept informed throughout the remainder of the project.”