Taxi rank gets security upgrade

AS of August, the Crawford Street taxi rank will be surrounded with state-of-the-art CCTV cameras in a proactive attempt by Queanbeyan City Council to prevent crime.

Council received $200,000 worth of funding under the Federal Government's Safer Suburbs Scheme last year and along with the cameras, the rank will also be upgraded to boast new seating, shelter and improved lighting.

Queanbeyan Police Inspector Tony Hill said police have been working closely with council in getting the initiative up and running.

"There's no statistics to back up the installation of the cameras there, however, we think it is a good initiative of council, and we are keen to support the council."

He added that having cameras in that location will help police in their job.

"We'll use it two ways. We'll use it to monitor and identify times where we may need extra patrols in the area and we'll also use the footage for historical purposes to help with criminal investigations," he said.

"The use of CCTV is becoming more and more widespread ... it's more available to us than it's ever been."

While Inspector Hill said he wasn't aware of any problems in that specific area, Mayor Tim Overall said differently.

"I recall one incident with a boy in his teens," he said.

"He was assaulted at this rank and left with facial injuries and he was bleeding ... council is doing something in terms of security."

He said he has no doubt that the installation will be successful in preventing crime.

"The cameras will be highly visible ... it's all about public awareness, the fact that the surveillance is there, it will go a long way to mitigating against further incidents."

Secretary at Queanbeyan Taxis Jack Maly added that the cameras would improve the well-being of drivers.

"I think mainly it will help with safety of drivers and dealing with trouble at the ranks on nights like Saturday and Sunday," he said.

"We've wanted this for a long time now, so it's about time."

There will be at least three cameras installed, one at the National Australia Bank building, the Westpac building and the old rugby club building.

The locations are designed to give a clear view of the road and footpaths around the taxi ranks as well as approach points on the corners of Crawford and Monaro streets.

The images from the CCTV cameras will be transmitted to the Queanbeyan Police Station where they may be viewed on a TV monitor, as part of the police's regular surveillance.

They will also be recorded and stored by Council and accessible only by NSW Police.

For more information contact Queanbeyan City Council at cctvenquiries@qcc.nsw.gov.au or on 6285 6000.

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