Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Ceisteanna (180)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

180. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount An Garda Síochána spent on improving poor quality CCTV camera images in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if An Garda Síochána has its own resources to improve poor quality CCTV camera images; if this work must be outsourced; if so, the location it is outsourced to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22863/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years, including a budgetary allocation of €1.76 billion to An Garda Síochána for 2019. Significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána in terms of the Garda fleet, ICT infrastructure and the Garda estate.

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, including ICT resources, in light of operational demand.

I have requested the specific information sought by the Deputy from the Commissioner. I will write to the Deputy directly when I receive it.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 180 for answer on 28 May 2019 regarding the amount An Garda Síochána spent on improving poor quality CCTV camera images in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if An Garda Síochána has its own resources to improve poor quality CCTV camera images; if this work must be outsourced; if so, the location it is outsourced to. The Deputy will recall that the information could not be obtained in the time available and I undertook to consult with An Garda Síochána and contact him again when the information was available.
As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years, including a budgetary allocation of €1.76 billion to An Garda Síochána for 2019. Significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána in terms of the Garda fleet, ICT infrastructure and the estate.
In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of his identified operational demands. Accordingly, decisions in relation to the introduction or extension of Garda CCTV systems are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no role in that regard.
The Deputy will be aware that 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. Neither type of CCTV system may be established without authorisation by the Garda Commissioner under section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, among other requirements.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda ICT has an annual budget allocation of €2,354,000. This budget is used for various purposes including to repair the existing Garda CCTV equipment, clean Garda CCTV cameras and replace any faulty or damaged Garda CCTV equipment.
I understand that the Garda authorities are considering the replacement of existing camera equipment with High Definition (HD) equipment and high speed Data Links, to provide improved CCTV images and analytical software to aid policing, in compliance with the existing legislation.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that maintenance costs for Garda CCTV for the years requested were as set out in the following table.

Year

Cost

2017

€1,339,030

2018

€1,291,717

Jan – May 2019

€545,797

The Garda authorities have advised me that the Electronic Media Examination Unit is currently not in a position to perform video enhancement using its own resources. Requests for assistance from investigative teams are assessed and recommendations are made for the best course of action in each individual case. I am further advised that the unit received approximately 25 requests for assistance with video/image enhancements in 2017 and 2018.
I trust this information is of assistance.