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'Body-cams' will allow gardai to film arrests

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Gardai on duty.

Gardai on duty.

Gardai on duty.

Dublin gardai could soon be wearing cameras strapped to their uniforms to record their interactions with the public.

The 'body-cams' would digitally record footage of incidents and arrests and leave officers' hands free so they can carry out their duties fully.

Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn made a proposal on the matter to a council meeting and it was unanimously backed by other community representatives.

The proposal would see a pilot project being carried out in Dublin, which could be rolled-out nationwide if successful.

In his proposal, Cllr Flynn said body-cams could protect and serve the citizen and was also a great breakthrough in transparency and accountability when examining incidents such as public order rows or public arrests.

Police forces in the UK, Australia and the US are already using the small devices, sometimes worn in special durable harnesses on their chests.

Mannix Flynn said that if gardai had 'body-cams' during the Jobstown water tax protest which saw Minister Joan Burton surrounded and heckled in her car then gardai would be clearly able to see what had happened.

"Cameras like these could prove useful in certain situations, like where there is a public order issue," said a spokesman for the Garda Representatives Association.

"But in other situations, like where a garda is visiting a person's home, they might not be appropriate," he added.

Cllr Flynn also argued that the cameras could provide video evidence in court cases.

While police forces all over the world frequently wear body-cams (inset), gardai generally record different gatherings and events in Ireland using hand-held devices.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said a number of body-cams have been bought by gardai to evaluate the technology.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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