New CCTV regulations that set minimum standards
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 New CCTV Rules in Sharp Focus

New CCTV regulations that set minimum standards for security cameras in late-night licensed venues will come into effect next month.

Venues that trade after 1am and have live or amplified music other than background music will be required to meet specific CCTV standards intended to allow the clear identification of individuals on security footage from October 6.

These premises are already required to have surveillance cameras fitted as a condition of their licences and the recording systems must be capable of clearly identifying individuals. The condition also sets out general requirements including where cameras must be installed, the minimum hours they must operate for and the minimum retention period for recorded images.

However, a survey of existing systems undertaken for the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for these additional regulations, found about 70 per cent are not capable of clearly identifying individuals.

The additional regulations prescribe specific requirements including:
a minimum frame rate for cameras and recorders of 5 frames per second
continuous recording of all cameras.
A general performance standard requires that stored images when exported from the video recorder as a still image in an open format be capable of correctly identifying an individual face.

Inspections by police to ensure compliance with the new standards will be undertaken. The test will involve police displaying four test photos to the camera at one of the entries, then displaying one of the photos to another camera, for example the camera on the dance floor or on a bar. The four photos will be given to the licensee, who will have to correctly identify which was displayed to the second camera. The licensee will be able to use the images from the camera on the entry to help identify the correct photo.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) will publish guidelines giving general advice on technical matters and describing the test in more detail. These guidelines will be published on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

The guidelines will not include a sample specification of a suitable system but list the main things that need to be considered when choosing a system so the pictures can be used by the police in an investigation.

According to the estimates in the RIS, about $6-$11 million needs to be spent on CCTV upgrades in about 500 licensed premises in Victoria Ė an average of between $9,500 and $16,600 per each system that currently does not meet the requirements.

Standards are also being introduced or have been introduced already in other States and Territories but their regulations specify the equipment that must be used. This is not the case in Victoria.

The Victoria regulations are intended to allow licensees to take advantage of technical advances in CCTV systems and meet the performance standards at minimum cost, by being free to use current technology. However, licensees who donít have a CCTV expert on staff will have to engage a competent CCTV contractor to ensure they have a suitable system for their venue that is capable of meeting the new standards.