Security fears raised

Who's watching? It remains unclear what is the point of security cameras in the Billy Day Underpass.

By Jeremy Sollars

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has refused to confirm or deny if security cameras in Warwick’s Billy Day Underpass are even switched on, let alone connected to a network and monitored.
As reported in the Free Times last week, TMR says it is working on a “co-ordinated response” to vandalism of the underpass with the police and the Southern Downs Regional Council.
There is currently extensive damage to the lifts and balustrades at the underpass which runs under Wood Street near St Mary’s Catholic Church, and as of last week the northern-end lift was not working.
But of more concern is the safety of students and other pedestrians using the underpass in the absence of security camera footage, with banks of cameras mounted on the ceiling of the underpass at both the northern and southern entrances.
The Free Times asked TMR if it could advise if the cameras are currently functioning, are part of a TMR camera network in Warwick and how footage from them is monitored and accessed.
A TMR spokesman issued the following one-line response –
“Unfortunately, we are unable to provide specific information on cameras due to security reasons.”
A spokeswoman for the Southern Downs Regional Council said the Billy Day Underpass cameras are not part of the council’s own ‘Citysafe’ camera network in the Warwick Central Business District (CBD).
She did confirm one of the Citysafe cameras is not currently working, without revealing its location.
“The cameras in the Citysafe network are all currently operating, with the exception of one,” the spokeswoman said.
“A camera pole was struck by a vehicle and knocked over.
“Council has received approval from the insurer for replacement of this pole and this is currently underway.
“The cameras in the Billy Day Underpass are the property of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).
“They are therefore not connected to the Citysafe network, nor are they the responsibility of the council.”
The council’s Citysafe network is monitored by the Warwick Police and council downloads footage when required by them.
The Billy Day Underpass was completed in May 2010 following a community campaign to improve road safety on Wood Street, particularly for students of the split-campus St Mary’s School.
The underpass is open 24 hours a day, was built at a cost of $7.8 million and was named after a young boy who was tragically struck and killed at the Wood Street crossing in 1973.

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