351. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of ensuring all gardaí have a secure encoded USB device for compiling evidence. [23771/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country. In total, €342 million is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to support Garda reform and enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies.
As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources are matters for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister, I have no direct role in that regard.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda policy strictly limits the use of encrypted USB storage devices. These devices are only to be utilised in unavoidable situations in which data needs to be securely transferred. I am further informed that in certain instances, such as the gathering of CCTV footage from a business premises, unencrypted devices may have to be used due to particular systems being unable to read encrypted devices. I further understand that Garda policy requires this data to be transferred to a secure medium as soon as practicable.
Garda ICT also has a USB management solution in place to assist with this process. The Deputy may wish to be aware that all Garda personnel are also provided with centralised secure storage for files on Garda systems.
In keeping with this policy, I am informed by the Garda authorities that encrypted USB storage devices are allocated to Garda personnel on application and where approved as necessary to meet operational requirements.
I am informed that Garda ICT utilise Government frameworks for the purchase of encrypted USB devices with an approximate cost of between €12 and €150, depending on the capacity of the device.