Written answers

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Department of Justice and Equality

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Provision

Photo of John BrassilJohn Brassil (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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132. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he will liaise with the respective Departments and accelerate the deployment of closed-circuit television schemes nationally, further to the recent recommendations of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality report on community policing and rural crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18184/19]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will be aware that CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems.

The Deputy referred to the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on Community Policing and Rural Crime, published on 28 March this year. The report contains 20 recommendations, a number of which reflect the recommendations made by the Commission on the Future of Policing with respect to establishing effective multi-disciplinary approaches to community policing.  A recommendation is also included in relation to community CCTV.

Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner, and

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded.  These key legal requirements have not changed since 2006.

The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In furtherance of this commitment, a grant-aid scheme to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas is being administered by my Department. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.

In terms of the responsibility for data in the context of community CCTV, as referred to in the Joint Committee's report, I can confirm that in establishing the grant-aid scheme, the Department consulted broadly, including with the Office of the Data Protection Commission, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA).   The Deputy may also wish to be aware that on 29 November 2018, the Data Protection Commission issued a note (available on its website www.dataprotection.ie) confirming that there is a legal basis for community based CCTV and that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not introduce new barriers in that regard.  In particular, the Office in its note confirmed that:

 “Data protection legislation does not stand in the way of the roll-out of Community based CCTV schemes that have been authorised by the Garda Commissioner. Once the local authority in the administrative area concerned is willing to take on and deliver on its responsibilities as a data controller for the schemes concerned, there is no legal impediment under data protection legislation to the scheme commencing.”

There have to date been 28 applications to the scheme. 20 applications have been approved, involving grant aid totalling more than €500,000.

My Department continues to actively engage with all relevant parties, including the LGMA, and keeps all aspects of the scheme under review- indeed the application documentation for grant aid is currently being further streamlined.  This ongoing and positive cooperation reflects the reality that all stakeholders have the same objective – safer and more secure communities.

I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, have the opportunity to take advantage of the availability of the grant aid scheme.  If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie.


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