Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (239)

Pauline Tully

Question:

239. Deputy Pauline Tully asked the Minister for Justice if there are impediments to installing cameras in a local authority housing estate under the community-based CCTV scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7633/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, 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 option to establish a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country.

Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. To date, 29 applications have been approved under the scheme, involving approved grants awarded totalling more than €752,000. 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. I can confirm that funding continues to be available for 2021.

As the Deputy may be aware, last year the grant aid scheme was extended to cover not only new CCTV systems but also to allow funding applications for extension or upgrade of existing Community CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants can now also seek a once-off grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs.

However in all cases, grant funding can be considered only for CCTV systems which meet the legal requirements, in other words CCTV systems which have been approved by the relevant Joint Policing Committee, the relevant Local Authority (also acting as Data Controller) and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

There is no impediment to placing cameras in housing estates however the applicants must be guided by the fact that the locations of the cameras and their area of coverage must cover public areas and they may not be located to provide coverage of a particular private address. The locations of the cameras will be specified and assessed by the CCTV Advisory Committee of An Garda Síochána in their role in the stage 1 process of evaluation of the application and making a recommendation to the Garda Commissioner.

Notes for applicants which provide the relevant guidance and additional criteria about provision of information about the camera locations are available on my Department's website at:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Community_based_CCTV_grant_aid_scheme_Information_and_Documentation

Provision of a scaled map, showing coverage area and proposed camera positions, matching the authorisation provided by the Garda Commissioner is required, as is confirmation that the necessary planning permissions and wayleaves have been secured and demonstration of the Applicant’s capacity or potential to develop, implement, operate and maintain such a System into the future.

If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail 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:

fundsadmin-comm-based-cctv@justice.ie