Gardai say their body-worn cameras will not record continuously as part of everyday police work and will only be activated in certain situations, reports RTE.
Details of An Garda Síochána’s use and policy regarding body cameras were announced in Dublin this morning.
The cameras are expected to be implemented on a pilot basis next year.
Civil liberties groups have raised concerns about the use of body-worn cameras by police officers, but the government regulates them and An Garda Síochána develops practices and policies for their use.
Gardaí said the cameras could improve officer and public safety, reduce the challenges of making arrests, reduce costs and help gather evidence for prosecution, reports RTE.
They claim that the use of cameras is legal and subject to GDPR.
All frontline officers will wear a small camera on their chest that they can activate in the event of a specific incident, which will display a red light and record audio and video.
Gardaí said they were considering whether to require people to be verbally warned about turning on their cameras.
Gardaí said the footage would serve as an independent witness and would be uploaded to a digital evidence management system.
Digital evidence necessary for the investigation will be retained and linked to the PULSE incident, and any remaining footage will be deleted within 31 days.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said it “cautiously welcomes” the announcement, but added that safeguards should be in place to “protect people’s fundamental rights”, reports RTE.
Liam Herrick, Executive Director, ICCL, said: “Today’s announcement indicates a focused approach with cameras only being used in specific circumstances. This move away from blanket surveillance is to be welcomed. However, the detail of the use of bodyworn cameras and what safeguards will be put in place – including how and when gardaí will use the cameras; how footage is stored and/or used; and how access to this footage will be managed – is yet to be finalised and will be key,” reports RTE,
Much of what has been announced today reflects what ICCL has been calling for and to this end, we cautiously welcome the news that An Garda Síochána intends to pilot the use of bodyworn cameras before moving to a national roll-out. ”
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