Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Questions (56)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

56. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the roll-out of the community CCTV scheme and ensuring schemes can proceed.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22685/18]

View answer

Written Answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In pursuance of this commitment, a new Community-based CCTV grant-aid Scheme was launched by my Department in April 2017 to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas. It is intended that the Scheme will run for 3 years with funding of some €1 million being made available each year.

Under the Scheme, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Upon approval, the applicant will receive an up-front payment of 50% of the grant with the balance to be paid when the system is fully operational.

Schemes funded under this scheme will supplement the existing network of CCTV systems in operation in the State, namely the 35 Garda CCTV schemes in operation comprising in excess of 500 cameras; as well as the 45 Community-based CCTV schemes encompassing some 367 cameras to which An Garda Síochána have access, and which were established under the previous grant-aid scheme funded by my Department between 2005 and 2013.

The statutory requirements governing the establishment of community CCTV systems generally require that any proposed 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 – this is a long-standing statutory requirement, set out in the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 289 of 2006), for the establishment of community CCTV systems generally, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner in accordance with Section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of whether or not grant funding is sought from my Department to assist in their establishment.

I would like to take the opportunity to confirm that 11 applications have been received to date and I understand that the Department has been informed that a further 14 applications will be submitted this month.

4 applications under the scheme have been approved to date, with approved funding totalling almost €120,000. A further 4 applications are under active consideration. The remaining 3 applications submitted to date have been returned to the applicants concerned to enable them to provide the information necessary to qualify for grant-aid.

In establishing the grant-aid scheme, the Department consulted broadly, including with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General and the LGMA. Full details of the grant aid package are available to download from my Department's website www.justice.ie. In addition, my officials are available to provide assistance and guidance to any interested party in relation to the scheme, with a dedicated email address available for that purpose - communitycctv@justice.ie.

I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, take advantage of the availability of this grant-aid scheme and I encourage any interested groups to make contact with my Department with any queries.