Unusual police camera on Aussie road stuns: 'What is this?'

The camera was spotted in Melbourne, but it's not a speed or mobile phone detector police confirmed.

A police device spotted on a Melbourne street on Sunday has baffled locals after one questioned what the strange technology could be.

Parked in a bay along Clarendon St in South Melbourne was a Victoria Police trailer which is fitted with multiple cameras and what looks to be solar panels.

A photo was shared online last weekend with the poster asking, "what is this?". Some suggested it could be a new mobile speed camera being rolled out across the city, while others thought it might be a mobile phone detector.

Victoria Police CCTV trailer on Clarendon Street South Melbourne.
The police camera was parked along Clarendon Street in South Melbourne last weekend. Source: Reddit

Residents 'shouldn't be alarmed' police say

But Victoria Police confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that residents "shouldn't be alarmed". It's "not a speed or mobile phone detector" which is operated by the Department of Justice. It's a CCTV trailer, they said.

"These are often deployed to areas to assist with public events security or to monitor areas where intel has detected a rise in a particular offence," a spokesperson told Yahoo.

It's believed the CCTV trailers were first introduced in late 2019, and after great success with the mobile technology, they're now being used in more areas across the state.

"They provide a great deterrent to would-be criminals and also assist us in detecting and preventing crime," Victoria Police said. "Given its mobility and ability to stand alone, it also gives us greater capability and agility in areas that traditionally do not have any monitoring capacity".

'Great tool for crime prevention'

Explaining how they work, Inspector Andrew Gustke, from the Transit Safety Division, said there are about six cameras on top of the large pole. They each have "pan and zoom capability" and there's a motion sensor too.

Most of the time they're positioned around public transport hubs, so bus stops, train stations or tram stops.

"It is a great tool for crime prevention and another way Victoria Police continues to work with the community to create safer spaces," a spokesperson told Yahoo.

Footage can be accessed in real-time but it's also stored within the asset for roughly four weeks before being overwritten.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.