51. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to commission existing CCTV cameras on motorways for the detection and prevention of crime. [4175/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can assure the Deputy that I am conscious of the value placed on CCTV as a means of deterring crime and assisting in the detection of offenders.
The main purpose of CCTV cameras located on motorways is monitoring traffic conditions on the national road network, and assisting in the management of traffic on our roads. However, when progressing a criminal investigation An Garda Síochána can, and do, request access to data held by the relevant body, pursuant to section 41 of the Data Protection Act 2018.
CCTV systems are also 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. These fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems. Both these categories have as their legal basis section 38 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, which deals with CCTV for the purpose of securing public order and safety in public places. What is commonly referred to as “community CCTV” are systems established under section 38(3)(c) of the 2005 Act, to which An Garda Síochána have appropriate access and which is supported by the grant-aid scheme administered by my Department.
The purpose of that scheme is to support local communities who wish to install CCTV systems in their localities, including access roads to their areas where appropriate. Under the scheme, which is being administered by my Department, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid toward the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system.
The Joint Policing Committees play an important role in the establishment of Community CCTV schemes - indeed their approval is one of the statutory requirements for establishment of any community CCTV scheme. In this regard, the Deputy may find it useful to engage with his local Joint Policing Committee regarding these issues.