Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Pa Daly TD, has today welcomed the government’s decision to move towards introducing body cameras for Gardaí and to bring forward proposals on facial recognition independently of the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022, which provides a legal basis for body cameras and other recording devices.
Teachta Daly said:
“I welcome that moves have been made towards introducing body cameras for Gardaí. This is something that Sinn Féin and Gardaí themselves have been demanding for some time. It can only be a first step in measures to protect Gardaí and ensure they have the resources they need.
“The government suggested continually that it would move amendments to the committee stage consideration of the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022. This lead to a scheduled Justice committee meeting being cancelled, and a date for consideration of the bill has yet to be fixed.
“It seems now that the bill will proceed and provide a legal basis for bodycams, which are an important proposal. Other measures such as safe staffing levels must also be implemented.
“For too long, the Gardaí have been left feel overstretched, under-resourced and unprotected by Fine Gael’s failure to show leadership in the Justice Department. Today’s news is a welcome first step from Fine Gael, but must be followed by much more fundamental reform.
“With regards the facial recognition technology, there are a considerable number of issues to investigate including the holding of a pilot scheme before wider proposals proceed, an independent review of the exact technology proposed and clarity on whether a “live” or retrospective use of FRT is being suggested. Detailed technical specifications and plans for procurement from reputable providers and provision made for ongoing independent audits of the use of the technology are important also.
“Dashcams would also provide an important piece of technology for Gardaí and consideration should be given to their use also. I look forward to seeing the government’s proposals in relation to facial recognition technology and a proper debate being held on the implications of its use.
“It’s time to get to grips with policing issues so that Gardaí have the resources they need and communities can feel safe.”