Justice Minister gives backing to body cameras for gardai
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has given his backing - in principle - to providing the garda force with body cameras.
The Garda Representative Association has unanimously called for the introduction of the body cameras, which they say would lead to better evidence in court, provide protection for them and reduce the number of assaults and complaints against its members.
After addressing the association's annual conference in Wexford this morning, Mr Flanagan said he was very anxious to ensure that the high level of trust and confidence that the Irish people had in the gardaí continued.
He said he had recently worn a body camera and believed it would add considerably towards protecting gardaí while carrying out their duties while it would also be important in the gathering of evidence.
Mr Flanagan said that as minister for justice he was providing an unprecedented €1.6bn in funding for the force and he aimed to ensure that the force had the level of resources available that met the needs of modern policing.
He understood that the issues surrounding the introduction of body cameras was under consideration.
But he said he was in favour of them in principle.
The chief administration officer of the Garda, Mr Joe Nugent said a large number of issues had to be reviewed before a decision could be made.
There was a perception that it was simply a matter of attaching the camera to the uniform but it might be necessary to seek a change in legislation to allow its introduction.
Mr Nugent said they had to consider issues such as how long and in what circumstances the camera should be switched on, how the footage from them was used and privacy regulations.
He said they had not yet reached the stage where they would examine the costs involved or the savings made through their usage.