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Surveillance: A Sad but Necessary Fact of Life

It is an unfortunate comment on the state of the world that we do, indeed, require up-to-date surveillance equipment in all airports.

This past Sunday, a man died at Sydney airport in a biker brawl. Even though police have witnesses to the events, CCTV footage is vital to their chances of securing a conviction. Right now, the case could be severely hampered due to old technology incapable of recording footage from several different cameras simultaneously. It means that some footage of the incident may have been lost…

The president of the NSW Police Association, Bob Pritchard, said. “Millions are spent at airports regarding the terrorism threat but if police are unable to access the footage and it’s putting an investigation at risk then it is a serious problem.”

The director of the Australian Homeland Security Research Centre, Athol Yates, said the incident reflected the inability of Sydney Airport to “balance community policing requirements and other policing requirements”.

And, An unidentified source said, “The systems aren’t in a standardized format and they’re not recorded at a central point so they (police investigators) have to try to get them into a format that can be used for evidentiary purposes.” Geesh, wouldn’t that be the point?

Qantas is responsible for video coverage inside the terminal where the killing occurred, while the Sydney Airport Corporation covers the surrounding roadways and car parks where the alleged attackers fled after the incident.
Both denied yesterday that their systems were at fault, but neither claimed responsibility for overall co-ordination of the surveillance.

It sounds like the old run-around; No one is accountable when something goes wrong … So my question is, what happened to the reported $19.8 million that was to be used for upgrading airport CCTV systems across Australia? Didn’t it get installed properly? Did someone forget to install it? What are your thoughts..?

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