New hi-tech weapon to boost rail security
The Gallop Government today unveiled the first stage of a sophisticated surveillance system that will greatly improve safety and security on Perth's trains and railway stations.
This morning, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan inspected Transperth's new Central Monitoring Room (CMR), where vision from cameras across the passenger rail network will be scrutinised 24 hours a day by trained officers.
Ms MacTiernan said the new technology would further boost public confidence in the safety of Perth's expanding passenger rail network.
"The new monitoring facility is a key weapon in our unrelenting campaign to improve the safety and security of our rail system," she said.
Based at a secure location, the $7.1million facility is the front-line of a network-wide closed circuit TV monitoring and alarm system - part of the Gallop Government's $24million TrainSafe package.
The roll-out of new cameras and alarms at stations is also well under way with the new technology already proving crucial in several arrests for alleged anti-social behaviour.
"This monitoring system will be truly world-class," Ms MacTiernan said.
"It will provide a powerful deterrent to vandals and other would-be criminals, helping PTA security staff respond immediately to incidents and identify and track offenders."
The Minister said police had already used new CCTV footage as the basis for charges relating to several offences, including attacks on change machines.
"By the end of April, we will have full coverage on the existing network," she said.
"By the time the Southern Suburbs Railway is opened in 2006, we will have about 900 cameras - with the capacity to increase to 1,200 cameras - across the network.
"All stations will have alarmed, round-the-clock surveillance with the capability for high definition images of everyone entering stations."
The monitoring room will be staffed by three to six officers at all times, and each station will have 5-15 CCTV cameras, providing synchronised views from strategic positions on platforms and in car parks.
The CMR has a video wall and several composite video screens, including large format displays.
The officers can communicate with each station by intercom, and instigate immediate response through radio contact with the police and the Public Transport Authority's Transit Guards.
Cameras at station entry points are configured as identification cameras, capable of capturing high-resolution, close-up images.
The new facility also offers access to stored images and the digitised live views of the CCTV control system.
The CMR is backed up by a hardware switching and storage facility at a different location, which has a capacity of 250,000 gigabytes.
"This level of capacity is necessary if we are to store the images from so many cameras, and have instant retrieval capabilities for seven days," Ms MacTiernan explained.
As part of the program, the PTA has developed a strict code of conduct to ensure that images are properly handled and managed.
To date, the TrainSafe program has resulted in the introduction of on-train cameras to record activities in each carriage, platform video surveillance, emergency call buttons on trains and platforms, improved lighting at stations and both locked compound and patrolled car parks.
The program complements coverage of the system by Transit Guards and Transit Police.
Next year, the Gallop Government will also introduce the SmartRider ticketing system and barrier entries for major stations across the network.
"These initiatives - along with the doubling of the network's capacity - are part of the Gallop Government's commitment to get more people onto public transport," the Minister said.
"Labor's commitment to good economic management and delivering balanced Budgets means we can continue to invest in making Perth's public transport system the best in the world.
"It is good for the city, it is good for the environment and it is good for people's hip pockets."