Key legislation to provide gardai with body-worn cameras passes

Justice minister Helen McEntee (PA)
Justice minister Helen McEntee (PA)

Key legislation has been passed to provide gardai with body-worn cameras.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the legislation will also to give gardai greater access to CCTV.

She said it puts An Garda Siochana on a “clear path” to begin rolling out bodycams for frontline officers from next year, with garda in Dublin city centre having access to bodycams from next spring.

The Bill is to be referred to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law.

Speaking less than a week after serious rioting in Dublin city centre, Ms McEntee also welcomed announcements by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris earlier on Wednesday.

These includes providing Tasers to public order units, stronger incapacitating spray for all gardai, more and improved public order equipment and vehicles, more data scientists to support the analysis of evidential material and the accelerated expansion of the Garda Dog Unit.

Ms McEntee said the government is committed to ensuring gardai has the resources, equipment and the technology necessary to build stronger, safer communities.

“This includes ensuring that gardai have body worn cameras, which has been a priority of mine for some time,” she said.

“The shocking scenes we witnessed last Thursday night show how crucial bodycams, as well as tools such as Facial Recognition Technology, are to protecting gardai and help bring criminals to justice.

“These tough new laws will help An Garda Siochana identify perpetrators and gather evidence directly. It will help them deal with public order and with tackling incitement by the far right.

“But there will also be other benefits this Bill – greater access to Automatic Number Plate Recognition will help with longer term investigations, and reduce the time it takes to collate evidence and track suspects.”