herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Ministers set to approve plans to give gardai body cameras

Minister Charlie Flanagan
Minister Charlie Flanagan

Gardai are to be allowed to wear body cameras to help them police protests and public events under plans to be approved by Government ministers today.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will seek Cabinet sign-off this morning on a proposal to draft new laws which will allow gardai to wear body cameras.

Rank-and-file members of the force have long called for the introduction of the technology as a way of providing better evidence in court cases and better protection for gardai while on duty, particularly when they are policing public order incidents.

Safety

Mr Flanagan will also ask ministers to approve proposals to use mobile CCTV and automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) to secure public order and safety in public places.

At present the law only covers the use of CCTV and ANPR at fixed locations.

The proposal for body-worn cameras was part of a number of recommendations from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, which reported last year.

They have increasingly become a feature of policing in other jurisdictions but their roll-out is likely to raise concerns among civil liberties groups.

Mr Flanagan will insist the constitutional right to privacy and the European Convention on Human Rights will be considered as part of the draft process and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission will be consulted over the measures.

The Data Protection Commission will also be asked to advise on any data protection issues arising from the introduction of such devices.

Draft

Department of Justice officials hope to have a draft of the legislation needed to introduce such cameras before the end of the year.

Mr Flanagan has been previously unable to confirm the estimated cost of rolling out such cameras.

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