A Fine Gael TD is calling for the swift roll-out of bodycams for An Garda Síochána to protect Gardaí from assault and to help in the investigation of crime.
Raising this in the Dáil with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, Deputy Richmond said: “It has been over four years since the introduction of bodycams for Gardaí was recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing, and Gardaí have already waited too long to see these cameras in use.
“Since the Commission called for the introduction of bodycams for Gardaí in 2018, over 3,381 Gardaí have been assaulted while on duty.
“From 2018 to 2020 alone there was a staggering 45% increase in these assaults.
“Gardaí are putting themselves at risk on a daily basis while protecting our communities and loved ones and the least they deserve is protection from attacks.
“Bodycams are a proven method of deterring assaults and helping to swiftly identify those who carry out these assaults. They are also a crucial tool in tackling and investigating crime, such as where Gardaí often arrive on the scene of domestic violence and abuse.
“In order to allow our Gardaí to use bodycams, the Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill 2021 must be passed through the Oireachtas. This Bill passed pre-legislative scrutiny in September and its passage through the Dáil must be prioritised.
“I know Minister McEntee will publish the final Bill by the end of March and will enact it by the end of the year.
“But it is also crucial that all the necessary steps are swiftly taken, including finalising guidelines for the operation of bodyworn cameras, to ensure Gardaí can use the bodycams as soon as possible once the legislation is enacted.
“The use of bodycams by police is a norm across Europe and has the full support of Minister McEntee, Gardaí, the Garda unions and crucially that of Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
“Ireland is one of the few EU Member States that does not equip our police with bodycams; the PSNI have also used them in Northern Ireland since 2016.
“We cannot wait for another Garda to be seriously injured in the line of duty before we prioritise the introduction of bodycams.
“I know Minister McEntee is committed to a strong Garda force, one which protects its members and ensure they are safe as they do their vital job protecting our communities.
“Bodycams will be a huge help in keeping our Gardaí safe, and they must be rolled out across the Garda force as a matter of urgency.”