Gardaí will wear body cameras under new laws
4th April 2021
Gardaí are due to be equipped with body cameras as part of new laws being brought before Government this month, the Department of Justice has confirmed.
The deployment of body-worn cameras by An Garda Síochána is backed by garda unions but has been criticised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) as a potential impingement on citizens’ right to privacy. Garda bodycams will be legislated for under the Digital Recording Bill 2021.
The Department of Justice told the Sunday Independent when contacted: “The general scheme of the bill will be presented to Government in April.
“When approved by Government, it will be submitted to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for the formal drafting of the bill. It is important to emphasise that this legislation concerns overt recording and there will be a requirement that body-worn cameras must be visible on the clothing of the garda officer. The Garda Commissioner will be required to prepare a Code of Practice which will set out all of the standards and procedures to apply to the use of body-worn cameras.“
The largest garda union, the Garda Representative Association (GRA), this weekend backed the roll-out of bodycams.
GRA President Frank Thornton said: “We have been calling for body cameras for many years now. Equipping gardaí with them is a no-brainer.
“We saw video of the violence on Grafton Street captured by onlookers, but the gardaí had none of their own. There are numerous benefits to bodycams which we see from other jurisdictions.”
The proposed introduction of the bodycams is “invasive and unnecessary”, according to the ICCL. There is no good evidence for the positive impact of their use and therefore no good reason for their introduction in Ireland, the group added.