Monday 23 September 2019

Gardaí to stream live footage of car chases back to HQ

Moving forward: Garda Bryan Duddy of Limerick Divisional Roads Policing Unit with his motorbike and his live-streaming video app. Photo: Brian Arthur
Moving forward: Garda Bryan Duddy of Limerick Divisional Roads Policing Unit with his motorbike and his live-streaming video app. Photo: Brian Arthur

David Raleigh

Gardaí are piloting new technology which allows them to transmit live footage of road traffic operations back to headquarters in Dublin.

The footage is transmitted via a new mobile phone app or a monitor attached to a garda motorbike, which is being used by the Limerick Divisional Roads Policing Unit at Henry Street garda station.

The modern crime-fighting tool will beef up the force's capabilities to detect and prosecute criminals, sources said, but it will require funding from the Department of Justice to roll it out nationwide.

The system allows gardaí to transmit real-time footage of high-speed road pursuits of criminals, as well as live footage from Garda checkpoints.

Garda Bryan Duddy, who has been using the system, described it as an "exciting" departure for the force.

"I haven't had a [pursuit] yet to test the system out, but the system is there, and it can be viewed in Dublin or by [other districts] that have the [system]," he said.

Garda sources said it should prove effective in helping senior gardaí make decisions in real time, such as when to deploy the Garda helicopter or close roads.

Garda management are teasing out the finer details of the technology, but the system does not yet have a record function.

Also, the footage cannot currently be used as evidence in courts.

Gardaí are considering how to get the best out of the technology and utilise it within GDPR guidelines.

A Garda spokesman said: "The camera is a real-time system which is not recorded or stored. Therefore it could not be used as evidence."

The technology also includes automatic number plate recognition technology, which can check eight vehicle licence plates every second.

The system sends an alert to an officer's mobile phone or to a monitor on a Garda motorbike informing the garda of vehicles that are not insured, taxed or have no NCT, as well as showing up Garda and PSNI vehicle alerts. "It allows me to intercept a vehicle if there's something wrong with it," explained Garda Duddy.

The technology could also mean an end to delays for motorists normally associated with checkpoints.

"Rather than stopping every car, I can just pick out the cars I need to talk to."

Irish Independent

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