CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems.
Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 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 undertake to act as data controller and
- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.
This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006.
In terms of the question of data protection, the Deputy may wish to be aware that on 29 November 2018, the Data Protection Commission issued a note (available on its website www.dataprotection.ie) confirming that there is a legal basis for community-based CCTV and that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not introduce new barriers in that regard. In particular, the Office in its note confirmed that:
“Data protection legislation does not stand in the way of the roll-out of Community-based CCTV schemes that have been authorised by the Garda Commissioner. Once the local authority in the administrative area concerned is willing to take on and deliver on its responsibilities as a data controller for the schemes concerned, there is no legal impediment under data protection legislation to the scheme commencing.”
The Data Protection Commission recently also circulated broad guidance for data controllers on CCTV (also available at www.dataprotection.ie) which I am confident will be of interest and assistance to all stakeholders and in particular, to local authorities.
The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In furtherance of this commitment, a grant-aid scheme is administered by my Department to assist groups meeting the legal requirements for CCTV and who wish to establish community-based CCTV systems in their local areas. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities, 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.
In establishing the grant-aid scheme, the Department consulted broadly, including with the Office of the Data Protection Commission, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). My Department continues to engage with all relevant parties, reflecting the reality that all stakeholders have the same objective – safer and more secure communities.
I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, have the opportunity to take advantage of the availability of the grant aid scheme. Further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address email@example.com.