WA's Police Union and the State Opposition want more security cameras in Perth's nightlife areas amid concerns there are big blind spots in the CCTV network.

Central Perth and Northbridge have almost 200 cameras under the City of Perth's control but other suburbs have much fewer or, in some cases, none.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said the cameras, which played a key role in the arrest of the alleged killer of former Perth woman Jill Meagher in Melbourne last week, were "an effective tool in both preventing and solving crimes".

"I intend to continue discussions with stakeholders in the short and long term to determine what needs to be done to improve the coverage and effectiveness of CCTV cameras to aid in the prevention and resolution of crimes in WA and increase community safety," she said.

Ms Harvey stopped short of following the Victorian Government, which ordered an audit of Melbourne's CCTV network to identify and fix blind spots.

Ms Meagher's mother, speaking publicly yesterday for the first time from the Brunswick street where her daughter was last seen alive, said she hoped cameras would be installed in that area.

Footage showing Ms Meagher speaking to her alleged killer came from a camera in a bridal shop.

An estimated 30,000 people marched in the Melbourne suburb yesterday in honour of Ms Meagher and to push for a safer city.

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said CCTV footage was invaluable to investigators.

"It is renowned as a deterrent to crime and antisocial behaviour," he said. "The evidentiary benefit of CCTV to law enforcement far outweighs privacy concerns and its expansion should be encouraged for the protection of the community."

Shadow police minister Michelle Roberts said CCTV should be considered for nightlife districts that did not have adequate coverage, including in Midland.

Local councils install and manage most CCTV networks and government grants are available.

Central Perth's CCTV network has 185 cameras compared with Mt Lawley's popular Beaufort Street strip which has none, though the City of Vincent recently received an $80,000 Government grant to install them.

In 2009, WA Police and the Office of Crime Prevention launched a register of security cameras called Blue Iris in a bid to build a network of cameras sited in homes, businesses and by local governments.

Registration is voluntary and does not automatically give police access to footage but is intended to be a fast way for police to identify security cameras that might assist investigations.

The West Australian

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