Legislation that allows gardaí to use body-worn cameras (bodycams) has been passed by the Oireachtas, and will now be referred to the President to be signed into law.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said that the bill’s passage put An Garda Síochána on “a clear path” to begin rolling out bodycams on frontline gardaí from next year, with gardaí in Dublin city centre having access to bodycams from next spring.
The Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022 also gives gardaí greater access to CCTV, and allows the force to expand its use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
Codes of practice
The Department of Justice says that codes of practice will be developed for the use of the various technologies provided for in the bill, and will be included in a statutory instrument.
The department added that the use of facial-recognition technology (FRT) would be provided for separately in a new Garda Síochána (Digital Management and Facial Recognition Technology) Bill 2023.
“I have instructed officials to include riot and violent disorder in the new facial-recognition bill, which will be ready to go to Government within weeks,” said the minister.
“The shocking scenes we witnessed last Thursday night show how crucial bodycams, as well as tools such as facial-recognition technology, are to protecting Gardaí and helping bring criminals to justice,” she added.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has previously expressed concerns about the use of FRT in law enforcement and in public spaces, saying that it undermines the right to privacy and data protection.