A commitment to progress legislation that will allow for the introduction of bodycams has been welcomed by a Government TD.
However, Fine Gael’s Neale Richmond has said the commitment given in the 2022 Justice Plan must be realised as soon as possible.
Deputy Richmond said: “Four years after the recommendation for the introduction of bodycams for Gardaí, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has today reaffirmed her commitment to bringing this into practice in her Justice Plan for 2022.
“The legislation on bodycams, the Garda Síochána (Digital Recording) Bill 2021, has completed Pre-Legislative Scrutiny and is ready for its swift passage through the Dáil which must be prioritised.
“This is really welcome but time is of the essence with this issue. Assaults on Gardaí are completely unacceptable and must be treated as such. From 2018 to 2020 alone there was a 45% increase in these assaults on members of the force.
“Fine Gael is working to build stronger safer communities and safety on our streets is a big part of that. Bodycams are a proven method to deterring assault; serving to both protect our Gardaí and also help identify those who do carry out these assaults.
“Bodycams also increase the transparency of the police service, ensuring there is accountability for the public as well.
“Ireland is currently one of the only EU Member States that does not provide bodycams for police. Indeed, they have been used successfully in Northern Ireland by the PSNI since 2016 and even by security staff on the Luas.
“Gardaí have waited long enough for the provision of bodycams; we can no longer delay their introduction.
“That Minister McEntee will work with the Gardaí to ensure they have the sufficient resources and capital to allow for the roll-out of bodycams, as well as working with them to allow for a code of conduct for their use, shows that plans for their introduction are at an advanced stage.
“With the support of the Gardaí, Garda unions, the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, and the reaffirmed support of Minister McEntee in the Justice Plan 2022, there is no reason why there should be any further delays in the progression of this legislation.
“We cannot wait for another Garda to be injured while at work before we progress this legislation,” Deputy Richmond concluded.