541. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if legislation or a statutory instrument will be introduced that would allow An Garda Síochána and specifically the district superintendent act as data controller for community CCTV if it has been approved for use by the JPC and An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25548/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): 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, such as town centres, 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.
Garda CCTV systems are planned and implemented on the basis of An Garda Síochána's identified operational needs and priorities. Accordingly, decisions in relation to the introduction or extension of such systems are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no role in that regard.
Community CCTV is governed by section 38 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 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.
There are no plans to amend the relevant legislation in the manner suggested in the Deputy's question.
In that regard, it can be noted that the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has confirmed to my Department that it is not querying and does not have any current concerns regarding the legislative underpinning of community CCTV systems.
A grant-aid scheme was launched by my Department last year to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas. Full details of the grant aid package is all available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie . I invite interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, take advantage of the availability of this scheme and to contact the Department in the event with any queries in that regard.