THE number of CCTV cameras in Tamworth’s CBD could double after a $500,000 commitment from an elected Coalition government.
Nationals candidate for the seat of New England Barnaby Joyce made the announcement yesterday, adding $200,000 to a previous $300,000 commitment which matched Labor’s funding.
The project includes the expansion of the fibre optics cable network, the installation of at least eight additional cameras in new locations in the CBD, including the Peel River bridge and footbridge, and the purchase of mobile cameras to target short-term or emerging crime trouble spots.
The funding will also allow for additional signage, community awareness and education.
Lighting will be installed in Coledale’s Centenary Park, where the Tamworth Regional Youth Centre is to be built.
Mr Joyce made the call for funding to Opposition leader Tony Abbott on Monday, saying law and order was a big issue for Tamworth.
“Police mapping indicates the CBD is a hotspot for malicious damage and harassment, threatening behaviour and private nuisance, with Peel, Bridge, Brisbane and White streets and Kable Ave being the most common repeat offence locations,” he said.
“The new CCTVs will infill much of the area currently not covered, allowing live monitoring by police to prevent incidents and follow-up investigation.”
Tamworth Regional Council deputy mayor Russell Webb said the cameras would provide safety for residents and become a tool for police.
He said eight, possibly nine, cameras would be installed.
The CBD already has nine cameras, with the last installed four years ago.
“A camera is a deterrent for crime and anti-social behaviour but it’s also useful for police to identify people,” Mr Webb said.
Mr Webb said the funding promise was a huge boost for the CCTV project, which is part of the council’s Crime Prevention Working Plan.
“It could only have been five or six cameras,” he said.
“We weren’t sure how we were going to wind that back and which areas would miss out.”
The technology will be a mix of fixed cameras and mobile cameras which can be moved according to the community’s needs.
“Some will be placed at lower heights, allowing police to properly identify perpetrators,” Mr Webb said.
Mr Webb said he hoped implementation would begin as soon as possible.
“As soon as the next government is elected, we’ll work on the documentation required and sign off on the funding agreement.”