Thursday, 25 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Closed-Circuit Television Systems
I thank Deputy Flaherty for raising the important matter of the expansion of Garda CCTV. We are aware of how important CCTV has become in detecting crime. As the Deputy may be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration, budget and business of An Garda Síochána, which includes responsibility for Garda CCTV. As Minister of State, I have no direct role in this matter.
The Commissioner authorises CCTV for the purpose of securing public order and safety in public places by facilitating the deterrence, prevention, detection and prosecution of offences under section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Section 38(3)(a) provides for Garda CCTV schemes operated by An Garda Síochána. I am informed by the Garda authorities that a total of 43 Garda schemes, covering over 700 locations, have received authorisation for operation around the country. I am further informed that while there are no plans at this time to expand the current Garda CCTV schemes, the schemes are being reviewed by the Garda National Community Engagement Bureau, GNCEB.
In addition to providing for schemes operated by the Garda, section 38(3)(c) provides for community CCTV schemes in collaboration with local authorities, community groups and An Garda Síochána. As the Deputy may be aware, my Department also provides grant aid for the establishment of such schemes, and there are currently 34 community CCTV schemes in place nationally.
Grant funding can be considered only for community CCTV systems that meet the legal obligations and requirements. In other words, CCTV systems that have been approved by the relevant joint policing committee and local authority – also acting as data controller – and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.
If the Deputy is aware of groups that wish to avail of the grant aid scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website. Support and guidance are also available through a dedicated email address to help interested groups.
As the Deputy will be aware, the general scheme of the Garda Síochána (digital recording) Bill was published on 27 April. When enacted, this legislation will replace section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. This Bill will also cover CCTV authorised in local communities by the Garda Commissioner. I intend to conduct a further review of the terms and conditions of the current community CCTV scheme to bring it into line with the proposals for this new legislation and in keeping with the commitment in the programme for Government.