Acting Justice Minister Simon Harris has introduced new legislation in the Dail that will see gardai wearing bodycams for the first time.
The new legislation would also apply to garda dogs too, with specific mention in the Garda Siochána Recording Devices Bill 2022 to ‘Garda canines’ being equipped with small cameras. The provisions are part of the new bill that also gives powers to Garda officers to seize third party CCTV footage from shops and offices to help with investigations.
It extends the powers governing Garda use of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to help prevent crime and prosecute those involved in criminal activity.
Read more: Iveagh Market preservation works to finally begin after years of decay
Mr Harris also revealed that he intends to bring in controversial facial recognition technology that will allow the authorities to monitor the public in the name of crimefighting. Labour have expressed concern over this provision, with the party’s justice spokesman, Aodhan O Riordain saying that he is “yet to be convinced” it’s a good idea.
Mr Harris told the Dail: “I am delighted to introduce the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022 to the House and I look forward to hearing the contributions from Deputies today.
“As Deputies will be aware, this Bill is aimed at providing a robust statutory basis for the operation of recording devices by An Garda Síochána.
"An Garda Síochána play a vitally important role in our society. They are on the front lines every day, keeping people safe and serving our communities.
“We know that they do this at great personal risk to themselves. I would like to take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest possible terms all recent attacks on members of An Garda Síochána and I am sure I am joined by every member of this House when I say that we must do everything in our power to prevent and discourage such attacks.
“We have seen a number of incidents in recent weeks where Gardaí have been seriously injured. I am sure we all absolutely condemn these incidents. But we have also seen threatening behaviour from people who are intent on sowing division in our society.
“They have not only intimidated and threatened people who are seeking our help, they have, in some instances, sought to intimidate and threaten the Gardaí who are protecting all of our communities.
“This will not be tolerated. Our Gardaí will always have our full support.”
He added: “With this legislation, and the introduction of body worn cameras, Gardaí will be able to gather evidence of such thuggish behaviour – and secure convictions.
“In the modern, fully digitalised society, criminals, and especially organised crime gangs, have access to increasingly sophisticated digital tools to carry out their objectives. It is of crucial importance that An Garda Síochána have access to the latest technology to counter such challenges.
"A modern police service simply must have effective and up-to-date digital tools in order to keep our communities safe and also to protect themselves from those who would do them harm.
“The principle objective of this Bill is to provide An Garda Síochána with such tools. A bodycams pilot programme is expected to be up and running before the end of this year."
- Meath cyclist injured in hit and run as gardai issue dashcam appeal
- Tensions rising in north Dublin as convicted gangland criminal joins anti-immigration protests
- Finglas assault investigation update as gardai looking to speak to taxi driver
Former Ashtown homeless camp resident speaks out after horror attack
Sign up to the Dublin Live Newsletter to get all the latest Dublin news straight to your inbox.