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A voluntary register of security cameras across Perth has been plagued by problems and is significantly smaller than police had hoped when the $2.4 million project was launched in 2009.

WA Police and the Office of Crime Prevention expected the Blue Iris project would result in a register of up to 6000 security cameras across Perth. But police yesterday revealed that only 451 security cameras were registered on the secure Blue Iris database.

Police use that database to map the location of security cameras that may assist active inquiries. They hoped the register would help them identify possible sources of footage faster than manually locating cameras near the scene of a crime.

An Auditor-General's report published a year ago suggests the shortage of cameras registered with Blue Iris is not simply a result of public apathy but also failures in the registration process.

The report claimed the Blue Iris project "had not been effective". It suggested police use of CCTV could be improved by a "functional, co-ordinated and integrated approach".

"The Blue Iris project was an attempt to fill this gap but its present form has proved unusable, which means that there is still a risk that relevant images may not be available for investigations and court," the report said.

It said the system was not functional because "the completeness, accuracy and utility of data are not reliable". It found police were yet to register 7000 cameras because they lacked GPS co-ordinates, the data was not readily accessible to frontline officers, there was no training, which meant officers continued the time consuming practice of doorknocking properties near a crime scene for possible footage.

Deputy Commissioner Chris Dawson said police had addressed the technical recommendations of the Auditor-General's report.

"WA Police now have the most advanced system of registration of CCTV in Australia in terms of Blue Iris and the streaming we developed through the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting," Mr Dawson said.

The City of Perth and police monitor a network of more than 200 security cameras in the CBD and Northbridge 24 hours a day. A police officer is stationed in the camera room and is able to direct frontline officers to areas of concern.

"Still images and video footage are considered to be one of the best ways to prove who did what and when," Insp. Bill Munnee said.

The Public Transport Authority also operates a sophisticated network of cameras across metropolitan rail facilities.

'The project was an attempt to fill this gap but its present form has proved unusable.'" Report by the *Auditor-General *