Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (267)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

267. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the issuing of body worn cameras to frontline gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47543/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. I am pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.

Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021. The Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of these resources and decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of equipment and resources, including ICT resources, are for the Commissioner in light of identified operational demands.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland included a recommendation that An Garda Síochána develop a plan to deploy body worn cameras. The Implementation Plan for that report - A Policing Service for the Future - includes a related action in relation to legislative preparation for deployment of body worn cameras.

In June 2019, the Government approved the drafting of the general scheme of a Bill to allow for the introduction of body worn cameras by the Gardaí. My Department is working to progress a Bill to deal with that and related matters – it is intended to publish the general scheme by the end of this year; and to publish the Bill in 2020.

Both privacy and data protection issues are being fully addressed during the drafting of the general scheme of the Bill. Relevant stakeholders such as the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission have been consulted.

I understand that in parallel, a business case is being prepared in An Garda Síochána in relation to the introduction of these cameras for operational members. I expect that this will be submitted to my Department after approval by the Commissioner.