Governments Community CCTV Scheme a shambles – Feeley

The Government’s much vaunted CCTV Scheme is in tatters according to Fianna Fáil Councillor and Chairperson of the County Cavan Joint Policing Committee, John Paul Feeley.
‘In theory any scheme to assist in the provision of Community CCTV to allow communities have the benefit of security cameras to prevent criminal and anti-social behaviour and indeed assist the Gardai in the pursuit of criminals is most welcome. The Scheme announced by the Government providing a total of €1 million over three years to provide such schemes around the country was welcomed by me and many others and our JPC has worked as closely as possible with communities and the Gardai in preparing applications thereunder. However the ‘devil in the detail’ in reality makes the scheme entirely unworkable and now the new General Date Protection Regulations (GDPR) has rendered the Scheme a shambles.’
The Scheme operated by the Department of Justice is governed by Section 38 of An Garda Siochana Act, 1995 requiring the approval for a CCTV Scheme application by the local JPC, the Local Authority who must act as Date Controller and the Garda Commissioner. The current scheme provides for 60% grant aid to a successful applicant community up to a maximum funding of €40,000 for a Scheme.
‘The County Cavan JPC have worked with a number of communities to prepare applications. Some communities have considered the application process and decided not to proceed. We have formally approved applications for Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet and Ballyconnell amongst others. The Council, through Municipal Grants and Town and Village Renewal Funding have provided additonal funds to support communities in their efforts. Depite much publicity indicating that funding had been allocated, Bailieborough have not even applied to the JPC for approval let alone sought the saction of the Garda Commissioner or submitted an application to the Department never mind recieve funding.’
‘According to a Parliamentary Question put down by Deputy Brendan Smith and answered by Charlie Flanagan TD, Minister for Justice on the 12th July 2018 the Minister confirmed that only one application had gone to the Department from County Cavan and it has been referred back for further information. No applications have been submitted for County Monaghan. Earlier this year the Minister confirmed that only four applictions attracting a total of €120,000 funding had been approved nationally under the Scheme’
‘The requirement that the recording equipment must be placed in a council owned property and cannot, under any circumstances be placed in a Garda property rules out many of the most isolated and vunerable communities in Rural Ireland, places where the Gardai do not have the kind of visibility that we and indeed the Gardai might want for want of resources. Furthermore the demand that a volunatary community group must stump-up 40% of the cost and agree to maintain the equipment for 5 years without any support towards maintenance and repairs is a major disensentive.’
‘Simply, between the conditions of the Scheme and the recent introduction of the GDPR this Scheme is unworkable and needs to be reformed. In reality whilst commuity input is welcome, the policing of the State is a matter for the Gardai and the Department of Justice and as such this funding should be administered and implemented by the Gardai with appropriate consultation from local authorities and communities.’