Three Garda CCTV cameras have been installed around Cork’s university quarter as part of a wider crackdown on antisocial behaviour.
The cameras, positioned at strategic locations around University College Cork, are linked to the city’s wider bank of some 30 Garda CCTV cameras monitored around the clock by gardaí based in the control room at Anglesea St Garda Station.
The new system, which can be extended, has gone live ahead of the Freshers’ Week celebrations, and just weeks after the closure of nearby Barrack St Garda Station, from where a lot of the policing of UCC’s environs was co-ordinated.
Supt Barry McPolin, who is responsible for policing the city centre, welcomed the installation of the cameras.
He said he is confident the devices — one near Brookfield, one at the junction of Goal Walk and Highfield Ave, and one at the junction of Donovan’s Rd and College Rd — will have a positive impact on the area, and act as a deterrent to criminal and antisocial behaviour.
“They are hi-tech, high-definition digital cameras with superb zoom capabilities, which can rotate 360-degrees,” he said.
“They have night-vision capability and can pick up activity from a long distance and prompt an immediate Garda response.”
Supt McPolin acknowledged concerns about the closure of the Barrack St Garda Station but insisted there would be no diminution of policing resources for the area. “The CCTV system will be a great addition to our armoury,” he said.
Michael McCormack, the general services officer at UCC, played a key role in delivering the project.
“The CCTV system will complement existing efforts in the area, with the primary aim of better ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the community, which includes residents, UCC students, staff, and passersby,” he said.
“This is the culmination of a project which has been sought for the past 10 years, but which really took off in the last three years.”
Residents first led calls for a CCTV system around UCC in 2003.
By 2005, agreement had been reached for the installation of ducts during a €7m upgrade of College Rd for CCTV cameras.
A series of assaults on students in the area in early 2005 prompted senior gardaí to renew calls for such a system.
It was factored in to various policing plans, and discussed at joint policing committee meetings over the years.
But a rise in drink-fuelled antisocial student behaviour around UCC in the last three years helped fast-track the project, which has been jointly funded by gardaí, the city council, and UCC.
The cameras will be used as part of the policing of Freshers’ Week next week. Supt McPolin encouraged students to drink responsibly and respect residential areas, warning of serious consequences for people who step out of line.
“People engaged in public disorder run the risk of arrest.
“They will be processed and could be prosecuted,” he said.
“A conviction for a public order offence can have serious implications for people wishing to travel to countries which require a visa, like Canada, the US, or Australia,” he said.
“And it could have serious implications for job applications later.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved