Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
Closed-Circuit Television Systems Provision
237. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 264 of 21 November 2017, the steps being taken to have CCTV cameras erected on motorways in an effort to counter the activities of roaming criminal gangs preying on vulnerable persons and businesses in rural areas aside from the community based CCTV grant aid scheme which would not be relevant in these instances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51550/17]
The Deputy will be aware that the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government is to support investment in CCTV systems at key locations along the road network and in urban centres. This commitment is being met by the Community CCTV grant-aid scheme launched in April 2017.
The intention is to support local communities who wish to install CCTV systems in their localities, including access roads to their areas.
Under the Scheme, which is being administered by my Department, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Upon approval of the grant, the applicant will receive an up-front payment of 50% of the grant with the balance to be paid when the system is fully operational.
Full details of the grant aid package including guidelines, application forms, code of practice and other relevant documentation are all available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie.
The Scheme is intended to supplement the existing network of CCTV Systems in operation in the State. For example, there are some 35 Garda CCTV schemes in operation throughout the State comprising some 523 cameras. There are also some 45 Community-based CCTV schemes, established under the previous grant-aid scheme funded by my Department between 2005 and 2013, in operation encompassing some 367 cameras to which An Garda Síochána have access.
The Deputy will be aware that, under the Garda Safety Camera Contract, GoSafe will provide an annual minimum of 90,000 hours of monitoring and surveying vehicle speed across 1,031 designated safety camera zones.
In addition, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is fitted in a number of official Garda vehicles which are allocated around the country and used on a daily basis to assist in the prevention and detection of crime, particularly on our roads network. The Garda Síochána Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016 – 2021 has identified a number of areas for expansion of ANPR including:
- increasing the number of ANPR units deployed;
- the addition of more ‘watch-lists’ in order to remove a greater number of dangerousdrivers and defective vehicles from the roads;
- examining the introduction of fixed ANPR sites at strategic locations across the roadsnetwork, in addition to using portable ANPR units while patrolling;
- working with the National Roads Authority, Port Authorities, Local Authorities and privatecar park operators in order to access data from their ANPR systems, as well as CCTV systems operating on the motorway network.
The Deputy will also be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government recognises that Gardaí must have the modern technology and resources necessary to detect and investigate crimes, and to prevent loss and harm to citizens and their property on a 24/7 basis. Accordingly, the Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016 to 2021 sets out a series of initiatives which will enable An Garda Síochána deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in the fight against crime.
In support of this plan, some €330 million, including €205 million under the Government's Capital Plan, is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to utilise these technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community.
In parallel with this, a new Garda ICT Strategy document is being developed that will align with the vision of the organisation to be a beacon of 21stcentury policing. It is expected that this ICT strategy will be finalised in Q1 2018 and will cover the period 2018-2021.
But it is not only in the area of technology that steps are being taken to ensure better policing of our roads network. The Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. The substantial increase in Garda numbers is tangible progress on achieving this Government’s vision of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians.
The Garda Commissioner has committed in the Policing Plan for 2017 to increase incrementally the number of personnel dedicated to traffic duties by 10% to support better outcomes in relation to road traffic enforcement and crime prevention.
In this regard the Commissioner has confirmed that a review of the roads policing has been completed and a new role and job description for additional personnel for Road Policing Units has been developed. I am advised that a competition is currently in train to fill these positions.
An Garda Síochána’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme (2016-2021) also sets out key strategic objectives for road policing which will inform and guide An Garda Síochána's road policing plans over the next 5 years. Under the Programme, the Commissioner will undertake a number of road safety traffic enforcement initiatives, including expanding the use of technology and increasing checkpoints.