Australian and New Zealand Communication Association
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication & Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : LP0668220
Over recent years there has been a proliferation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in public and private settings in a bid to increase security and combat crime. Whilst concern abounds from citizens that the use of these cameras are an invasion of personal privacy, governments and organisations have continued to view them as a panacea in the fight against crime and public disorder. Drawing on a research project currently being undertaken in a metropolitan railway environment, this paper aims to address a gap in the CCTV literature and examines the use of CCTV cameras as a ‘safety protection’ for railway transit officers. These transit officers, who have similar powers to police on railway property, provide the frontline of deterrence against anti-social behaviour and violence on the rail system. Like police, these transit officers are also subject to similar investigative procedures following any complaint received from a member of the public regarding their handling of an incident. However, radioing the monitoring room and calling for a camera to be focused on them as they deal with members of the public has a number of advantages. The camera footage provides a ‘security blanket’ for the transit officers should any complaint be received by the organisation that they handled a situation inappropriately; secondly, it provides evidence against an offender for any subsequent court action arising out of an incident; and thirdly it provides the ability for the situation to be monitored and additional support deployed to the area should the situation warrant it. Based on the researchers observations both working with railway transit officers and in the central monitoring room of the railway organisation, this paper explores the present use of the CCTV cameras in this environment, and explores how this technology could evolve in the future.
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