Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
Closed-Circuit Television Systems
486. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the improvements she plans to implement to the closed-circuit television, CCTV, scheme due to difficulties encountered by community groups in availing of it as structured at present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44469/20]
As the Deputy will be aware, community-based CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006. This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:
- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee;
- have the prior support of the relevant Local Authority, which must also act as data controller; and
- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.
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 option to establish a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country.
Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. I can inform the Deputy that my Department is not aware of any issues with the scheme that would prevent appropriate groups from applying to it. If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the grant aid scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie. I can further inform the Deputy that support and guidance from my Department is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can also inform the Deputy that work is at an advanced stage in my Department to prepare a General Scheme of a Bill to provide statutory underpinning for Garda overt recording, which will include CCTV authorised in local communities by the Garda Commissioner. When enacted, this legislation will replace Section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
Once the General Scheme of the proposed new legislation on digital recordings has been published, a further review of the terms and conditions of the scheme will be carried out in the first half of 2021, to bring it into line with the proposals for this new legislation, and in keeping with the commitment in the new Programme for Government, Our Shared Future.