Financial and data protection issues restricting use of Cork county town CCTV data

Financial and data protection issues restricting use of Cork county town CCTV data

Picture Denis Minihane.

LEGAL issues and cost concerns regarding Community CCTV systems in place or being put in place across Cork county were discussed at a joint meeting with the Gardaí and the local authority at County Hall this week.

Councillor Ian Doyle brought the problem to the fore that there are 15 community CCTV systems in place with another seven in the pipeline and there is still uncertainty surrounding the legislation in place to ensure appropriate use of the data.

Mr Doyle said he was looking for an update on the systems and the new system coming on stream.

“Community Gardaí do excellent work, but footage and cameras are essential for their work, I know it is a national issue, but I think we need to get things in motion and a budget and department put in place with the Department and the Gardaí and Cork County Council.” 

Independent councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan said: “Community CCTV systems are the way forward, we need to write to the minister and get clarity on the data protection, that seems to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks in relation to CCTV.” 

Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey said it was a simple problem, that was complex to resolve.

“There are two separate and significant issues, one is the actual legislation and the other is the cost of a CCTV system across the county.

“In legislation as it stands the data controller of a community CCTV system in the local authority, but in order to do that, we would have to have actual control of the systems."

Mr Lucey said whether or not the council would be able to provide live feeds to An Garda Siochana was up for discussion.

"We had an assessment, Cork County probably has the highest number of systems, there are 22, 15 installed and seven proposed, of various models and makes, to bring all of those into a system where you have one simple management system, the costs are extremely significant, you are talking about half a million euro.

“And the operational costs of taking responsibility for the data control elements of it and access them in an appropriate manner would be in the region of €350,000 per annum.

“If it were legally sound for us to take over the systems as data controller, we would do so, but there would be cost issues.” 

West Cork Superintendent Con Cadogan said new legislation that had been delayed by Covid was in the works and would be going to bill stage as soon as possible.

Supt Cadogan agreed that these systems are invaluable, however in response to a suggestion from Mr Doyle that An Garda Siochana should take control of the systems, Supt Cadogan said financial implications would have to be considered.

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