Sergeant Kyle Bruning reviews some of the CCTV footage at the Richmond Police Station last week. Photo: Simon Bloomberg

Criminals caught on camera

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The new security cameras that have been installed around Richmond’s central business area are already proving effective with images recorded from the cameras providing evidence to help police catch two offenders.

Richmond Unlimited secured funding from the Pub Charity to install seven security cameras around the town after businesses expressed concern about a wave of tagging and petty crime in the CBD. The cameras were installed early in the New Year and Sergeant Kyle Bruning of the Richmond police says the quality of the images and extent of the coverage has been a revelation.

“We always knew they would be invaluable for us but I was surprised at the quality of the images – they are very, very good,” Kyle says. “We also have very good coverage of the area and can track offenders as they move around the town which is helpful.”

Kyle says they have already had “three files where we can identify the offender on camera” since they were installed. Two of these have resulted in arrests while the third investigation into “a person of interest” is still progressing and police “still have some work to do before we visit them”.

Kyle says one of the offenders was caught on camera with stolen goods after the offence was reported to police by a Richmond retailer. He says the offender initially denied the allegations “until we confronted him with the CCTV footage and his head went down and his hand went up”.

“We often have a good idea of who is responsible for an offence through word of mouth or their MO but we don’t have enough evidential sufficiency. But it’s hard for someone to argue when you put a video clip in front of a judge.

“These cameras have proven very worthwhile in a short space of time and I’m sure they’ll help us catch more and more offenders. I suspect we’ll also get fewer denials from offenders if they know there’s a chance they were on camera.”

Kyle is confident the cameras will be a “very good long-term deterrent once word gets around that they are there”. He says police are grateful to the Pub Charity for providing the funding for the cameras and “we are already talking to people about getting some more cameras”.

Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne, who provided a letter supporting the initial application for funding under the banner of Richmond Safer Community CCTV, says “it’s fantastic” that the cameras are making an immediate impact on crime in the Richmond CBD. He says Richmond Unlimited did a great job securing the funding for the cameras and he is  happy to support any further applications for more cameras.

“I’m absolutely supportive and appreciate what Richmond Unlimited and the businesses are doing,” he says. “It’s a tremendous benefit for them and the whole community – it’s an excellent concept and I’d support any application for outside funding.”