Tender out for installation in Access 311 area
The City of St. John’s says it needs to install security cameras inside the Access 311 area at City Hall as a means to ensure the safety of both staff and residents.
The City of St. John’s Access 311 call centre, situated at St. John’s City Hall on New Gower Street in downtown St. John’s, will soon be installing closed-circuit television cameras throughout the facility. City staffers work at the access area Tuesday afternoon.
— Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The city recently issued a tender for video surveillance services. A spokeswoman for the city told The Telegram the tender is for the Access 311 area.
That area in question, located to the left upon entering city hall’s main entrance, is used by residents looking to obtain permits or pay fees related to city services.
The spokeswoman said in an email that for safety purposes, “representatives of the city cannot speak to its security protocols.” However, she added that the tender is part of a larger strategy and policy aiming to ensure all city facilities “are safe and secure for both staff and the public.”
Asked if the decision to install cameras inside the Access 311 area came in response to any specific incidents, the city said that was not the case.
In June 2012, council passed a policy concerning the city’s use of video cameras. Its purpose is in part to deter criminal activity and protect city facilities from damage or destruction.
“The City of St. John’s recognizes the need to strike a balance between an individual’s right to privacy and the City’s duty to promote a safe environment for all employees and users of City facilties and to protect the City’s infrastructure,” reads the policy.
According to the policy, signs are posted in areas where people can expect to be monitored. While it states that covert cameras cannot be installed at city facilities, there is a loophole for instances where there is a demonstrated need to assist police in a criminal investigation.
The Department of Building and Property Management is responsible for the purchase and installation of video surveillance equipment.