February 18, 2014

Gold Coast Stadiums look to spy cam technology

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Hi-Tech spy cam technology that can recognise banned sports fans at the gate and alert security about criminals may soon be in use at the Gold Coast’s two major sports stadiums.

Metricon Stadium could benefit from spy cam technology that recognises criminals. Image:

Metricon Stadium could benefit from spy cam technology that recognises criminals. Image:

The Big Brother technology is under consideration for both Metricon and Cbus Super stadiums, homes to the AFL’s Suns and the NRL’s Titans.

It may become more vital as the stadiums are more widely used for events other than sporting matches.

Cbus has hosted motocross and the Rugby Sevens, while Metricon has been the venue for a major Foo Fighters rock concert and last month’s Big Day Out festival.

The system — which scans a patron’s image at the turnstile and compares their identity to a database of known troublemakers and law-breakers in seconds — is already used at stadiums in the US, Germany and South America.

Stadium bosses in Melbourne have been briefed on its potential and several are evaluating its possible use in that city.

The database could also be used Australia-wide, with fans banned from a stadium in one city stopped at the gate in another through the shared database.

Outbreaks of crowd violence and vandalism, particularly at A-League soccer matches, has been the catalyst for the moves in Victoria.

At present, Stadiums Queensland, the landlord for both the Suns and the Titans, uses closed circuit television to monitor spectator behaviour during matches.

A spokesman for Stadiums Queensland said it would keep abreast of any new technology.

“We work closely with police and security on event days,” Stadiums Queensland media officer Cobey Moore said.

“But crowds on the Gold Coast are well behaved and there is a family-friendly atmosphere across both venues.

“Having said that, we keep abreast of technology and we’ll see how it works down south and monitor the application of that technology to determine if there is a need in the future.”

Both teams said their fans had been well behaved in the past.

“We don’t have an issue with that,” Titans operations manager Ian Buchanan said.

“But anything that can eliminate what would be serial pests and people who have done the wrong thing before can only be better for everyone.”

Andrew Travis, chief operations officer for Metricon Stadium, is aware of the modern crowd-surveillance technology through his days working at a Melbourne stadium.

“We don’t see it (unruly crowds) as a problem,” Mr Travis said.

“We’ve got really well-behaved, family-friendly crowds, so there is no issue for us.

“If we decide to pursue the new technology, it’s something we’d have to put to Stadiums Queensland to invest in.

“But it’s not a priority for us at this time.”


This article originally published in the Gold Coast Bulletin.


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