Top cop concedes CCTV no deterrent to thugs
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Top cop concedes CCTV no deterrent to thugs

Thomas Hunter
July 16, 2009 .
Premier John Brumby and Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland have made an impassioned plea to Melburnians to help change community attitudes about violent behaviour.

Mr Brumby said he was "appalled, sickened and disgusted'' by two examples this week of "senseless cowardice and violence'' that have left one young man dead and another with serious head injuries.

Acknowledging a rise in street violence over the past 12 to 18 months, he called on Victorians to emulate the success of community campaigns on issues such as workplace safety, reckless driving and smoking by changing their mindset about anti-social behaviour.

Brumby appeals for public support
Simon Overland and John Brumby appeal to the public for help in curbing the violence on Melbourne's streets.
"For all Victorians there is a responsibility - a responsibility to take a stand, a responsibility to send a message to workmates, to children, to friends, to boyfriends to say that violence is completely unacceptable,'' he said.

"There is never an excuse for the sort of mindless violence that we have seen.

"My appeal to Victorians today is that we need to work together to tackle this problem ... If you respect your community and if you respect other people, you don't beat them senseless.''

Speaking alongside Mr Brumby, Mr Overland said it was impossible to station an officer in every milk bar or fast-food outlet.

"You can have as many police as you like, but we're just simply never going to be and can't be everywhere all the time,'' Mr Overland said.

"We can't be expected to stop some of the things we have been seeing happen across the state. It's a matter of everyone taking responsibility for that.''

Their comments followed two vicious attacks in the past week that killed a Canadian tourist and left a young footballer with serious head injuries.

Earlier today, another of Victoria's top cops conceded that security cameras are not deterring thugs.

Deputy Chief Commissioner Kieran Walshe said assailants were ignoring the closed circuit TV cameras that had proliferated around the city.

"The level of violence has certainly increased dramatically over time. Just the level of violence that people are undertaking and inflicting on other people is quite disturbing," he told radio 3AW this morning.

"If we look at the CCTV that's out there, it's been very beneficial to use in being able to solve some of these matters.

"One of the things that disturbs me a little bit is that people just have a disregard for CCTV. They don't think it is going to capture them.

"It's certainly not having the deterrent effect I hoped ... having said that, I still think having CCTV around in public places is the way to go.

"We've just got to promote it as a deterrent. We've got to let people know that if they do these sorts of things they are going to get caught."

Police have charged three men with murder over the bashing death of a 25-year-old Canadian man outside a Yarraville pub last week.

Three men have also been charged over the assault in Chapel Street, Prahran, on Monday morning that left Frankston South man Luke Adams, 19, with serious head injuries.

Police yesterday released shocking footage of the attack on Luke, captured by CCTV cameras in the Hungry Jack's outlet in Prahran.

Luke's father Peter said the problem on Melbourne's streets concerned all citizens, not just those who fell victim to it.

"The complexity of the problem means that the solution needs to [be] complex and sophisticated as well," Mr Adams told radio 3AW.

"This is something everyone needs to take ownership of. It's not a matter just for the police.

"They've got the hardest job. Everybody else is responsible for addressing this. It's an appalling indictment on society when this is happening."

A crime victims group has added its voice to the debate, claiming the State Government's "softly, softly approach" is to blame for increasing violence on Melbourne's streets.

Noel McNamara, president of the Crime Victims Support Association, said it was sickening to hear reports every day of violent assaults and murders.

"The streets are full of drug traffickers and users and they know they'll not be seriously punished if caught because we've got a soft government and a soft police command and they're conspiring with each other," Mr McNamara said.

"Then you've got the judges who all come from bleeding heart backgrounds."

Mr McNamara said Victoria needed a further 3000 police to cope with the upsurge in violence on the streets.

"There should be zero-tolerance, with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year for any crimes of violence, what's happening now is absolutely disgraceful, something has to be done," he said.

"They are just out of control, because they know that they will not be punished for what they have done."