Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Department of Justice and Equality
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and ensuring that people both feel safe and are safe in their communities.
The rollout of community CCTV schemes across the country has benefitted many communities, helping people to feel safer in their local areas. It is a priority for my Department to ensure that community groups continue to be supported in their valued contributions to their local CCTV schemes whilst ensuring sufficient, proportionate oversight of data protection statutory considerations.
Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, 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.
The CCTV grant scheme was extended in 2019 to cover not only new CCTV systems but to also provide funding for the extension or upgrade of existing CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants may now also seek a once-off grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs. Support and assistance for those running CCTV schemes is available by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community-based CCTV is governed by Section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI 289 of 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 Deputy will be aware, the Data Protection Commission have carried out an in-depth, independent review of community CCTV schemes. My Department is incorporating amendments into the Garda Síochána (Digital Recordings) Bill to address these findings.
The General Scheme of the Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill 2021 was approved by the Government and published on the 29th April 2021. The General Scheme was sent to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting, and drafting is continuing. The General Scheme was also submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Committee’s report was received in December 2021 and is currently being examined by my officials. It is my intention to publish the Bill by the end of March 2022 and to complete its passage through the Oireachtas later this year.
This Bill will provide statutory underpinning for Garda overt recording, which will include CCTV authorised in local communities by the Garda Commissioner. It is planned to have a further review of the terms and conditions of the current scheme to bring it into line with the proposals in this new legislation and in keeping with the commitment in the Programme for Government.
Once this review is completed, appropriate guidance will issue to An Garda Síochána on the control and supervision of CCTV systems. It is expected the Bill will be enacted in 2022. The legislation, once enacted, will replace Section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
I am informed that €1m funding has been allocated in the Garda vote for the CCTV Scheme for 2022.
If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the grant aid scheme, further details are available to download from the Department's website and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address.