Justice minister Charlie Flanagan told the Seanad on Tuesday that this legal framework must:
- Be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,
- Have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner, and
- Have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller.
He told the Seanad that 28 out of 31 local authorities have undertaken to act as data controllers in the context of specific community CCTV schemes.
“This has been the case, either in the course of the current grant-aid scheme administered by my department, during the previous grant-aid scheme operated by Pobal on behalf of the Department, or in connection with schemes funded independently by local authorities,” he said.
The Data Protection Commissioner’s Office has issued guidance on data protection and community CCTV.
The guidance, which is available on the DPC website www.dataprotection.ie, confirms that there is a legal basis for community-based CCTV, and that GDPR does not introduce new barriers.
The guidance says: “Data protection legislation does not stand in the way of the roll-out of community-based CCTV schemes that have been authorised by the Garda Commissioner.
“Once the local authority in the administrative area concerned is willing to take on and deliver on its responsibilities as a data controller for the schemes concerned, there is no legal impediment under data protection legislation to the scheme commencing.”
The guidance confirms that local authorities are not required as data controllers to monitor CCTV live feeds on a continuous basis.
The Data Protection Commissioner’s Office is also currently conducting an audit of related issues, including the practice, operation and governance of CCTV.
Community-based CCTV schemes can apply for Government funding, which has been set at €1 million for the next year. The Department of Justice is administering the grant aid scheme.
Eligible groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.
There have been 27 applications so far, with 20 approved for grants totalling more than €500,000.
A further four applications to the scheme are currently being assessed.
Interested groups can apply through a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.