Govt Approve Garda Use Of Body-Worn Cameras

Legislation to allow for garda officers to use recording devices, including body-worn cameras, has been approved by the government, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has announced.

The government approved Minister Flanagan's proposals for the drafting of General Schemes to (1) extend the circumstances in which recording devices, including body-worn cameras, can be used by An Garda Síochána and (2) codify police powers of search, arrest and detention. The two pieces of legislation are key recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, which reported in September 2018.

Minister Flanagan said: "I am delighted that Government has approved the preparation of these two key pieces of legislation recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

"The Commission set out a clear vision for policing in Ireland, a vision that will ensure we have more visible policing within our communities with the best possible resources in place to support, protect and keep all our people safe. We are making important progress and this work remains a high priority for my Department. We will continue to support An Garda Síochána in progressing a number of crucial actions in the months ahead, including further workforce modernisation, a review of discipline processes within An Garda Síochána and delivery of a new pilot local policing model."

Modern policing services are increasingly using digitally-enabled tools to become more efficient, effective, responsive and transparent. The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland noted that the technologies available to An Garda Síochána were limited and outdated and it proposed a comprehensive strategy for digital innovation, including the roll-out of body-worn cameras.

The use of body-worn cameras will form part of the wider Garda Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) management strategy, to ensure a consistent and standardised approach to the management of all recordings. The legislation will also provide a legal basis for the extension of the circumstances in which Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) devices may be used by An Garda Síochána. The recording and storage of images will obviously raise some privacy and data protections concerns, these will be fully addressed in the legislation following consultations with relevant stakeholders.

The Minister added: "The use of body-worn cameras by modern police services around the world has increased dramatically over the last five years or so. The evidence available suggests that they can greatly improve police frontline capability with the accurate recording of incidents. They provide a contemporaneous evidence capture and a clear unambiguous record of particular events and interactions such as at public order protests. Their deployment can lead to an increase in admissions and early guilty pleas. Most importantly, their usage may increase public trust and build confidence in policing generally.”


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 May 2016
Taoiseach Makes Garda Commitments Following O'Higgins Report Publication
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has committed to increase garda numbers to 15,000, double the number of garda reserve officers and increase the number of civilian workers in An Garda Síochána to free up officers for frontline policing. The Taoiseach made his comments in a statement addressing the newly published O'Higgins Commission Report.
29 August 2019
Arrest As Guns Seized In Co Monaghan
Gardaí have arrested one man and seized four firearms in Co Monaghan. The Roads Policing Unit discovered the guns when a vehicle was stopped during speed checks on the N2. A roadside drugs test was carried out on the driver before a follow-up search of the car uncovered four loaded pistols and ammunition.
18 May 2015
Bill Published To Establish New Policing Authority
A Bill has been published to establish the new independent Policing Authority in Ireland. Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, has published the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015. The new Policing Authority will oversee the performance of the policing functions of the Garda Síochána.
10 October 2017
Funding Secured For Additional 800 Garda Officers
Funding has been secured to facilitate the recruitment of an additional 800 gardaí officers and some 500 civilian staff, as part of the Budget 2018.
04 April 2019
2019 Garda Recruitment Drive Launched
The 2019 recruitment campaign for new members of An Garda Síochána has been launched by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan. Welcoming the campaign, Minister Flanagan said: "The mission of An Garda Síochána is to protect and serve, and I encourage all those interested in supporting that mission, to consider applying.