Chemello assesses, issues change to Safe City CCTV operation

IPSWICH'S controversial Safe City camera network has been restructured to improve communication between the council and Queensland Police.

Safe City, which started in 1994, now features more than 200 cameras across the region; all monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The success of the program has been debated by residents and academics, and often skewed by politicians.

While administrator Greg Chemello has not conducted a formal review of the Safe City network, he has made changes to improve its workings.

"Operational arrangements of the council have been restructured to ensure more efficient communication between the local police and the relevant Safe City council officers," he said.

"Safe City also now reports to the newly-formed Governance Committee of the council and any review, refinements or performance monitoring of Safe City will be conducted under the direction of this committee."

Ipswich City Council has been visited by law enforcement agencies internationally to inspect the Safe City camera-monitoring system.

In October 2014, then-mayor Paul Pisasale said there had been "a reduction in incidents of crime by 70 per cent".

It was one of many similar statements over the years.

Mr Chemello backed the council's program.

"In regards to my personal views of the effectiveness of the Safe City network, anecdotal and observational evidence shows that the program has certainly contributed to a reduction in crime statistics, although I understand that it's difficult to quantify this as the police do not have data that directly correlates to the specific areas covered by our Safe City cameras," he said.

"I note that an independent research report released by Adrianne Robinson only recently in September 2018 concluded that 'analysis conducted by the Queensland Police Service during 2007 found Ipswich experienced a 74.9 per cent reduction in crime since the commencement of the Safe City program in 1994'.

"I think the Queensland Police information speaks for itself."

In April, a Queensland criminologist Tim Prenzler said there was no evidence Safe City reduced crime.

The Sunshine Coast University professor said claims about the network's effect on crime were not supported by data.

"The data from the council indicates that footage from the cameras may have assisted police in arrests, but this does not translate into convictions nor does it translate into a higher crime clearance rate from the program compared to other locations in Queensland," he wrote.

Several days after Mr Prenzler's study was reported in the QT, Safe City operators reported two people acting suspiciously in the Redbank Plains carpark.

A homemade bomb was later found in a car and the two people were charged.