Public CCTV in Australia: a comparative study of establishment and operation

Criminology Research Council grant ; (26/01-02)

This study provided an overview of the current operation of closed circuit television (CCTV) in Australian public spaces. This study was not intended to be an evaluation. Rather it aimed to provide a more informed context within which future discussion and research into Australian open-street CCTV, both theoretical and empirical, can proceed. The use of CCTV in open-street settings in Australia appears poised to expand. Increasingly, these systems will be integrated, with coverage ranging across public and private space. The precise impact CCTV has upon crime and perceptions of safety in particular locations requires more thorough research. Despite ambiguous findings, many local councils remain enthusiastic about CCTV, although few see it as a panacea. However it remains to be established in what locations and under what conditions CCTV will prove most effective. Rigorous independent assessments of both the intended and unintended consequences of systems will assist in clarifying this picture. Future research should also include detailed ethnographic studies of control room operations and more sophisticated study of the impact of CCTV upon policing practice.