Garda body-cams to be trialled within next year

The Minister for Justice is expected to make the announcement at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) annual conference
Garda body-cams to be trialled within next year

Body-worn cameras for gardaí are set to be trialled within the next year and could be fully rolled out from 2023.

The Minister for Justice is expected to make the announcement later today at the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) annual conference.

Body-worn cameras were first recommended by the Commission on the Future of Policing in 2018. While they are supported by Garda unions, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has raised concerns over privacy rights.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is set to announce that the cameras will be piloted in some Garda divisions over the next year.

The devices will be beneficial when investigating crimes such as domestic violence incidents, the Minister will tell the conference, and the cameras can make sure incidents are accurately recorded and protect officers from harm.

Minister McEntee is expected to say that while substantial work is needed, she is confident the body-worn cameras will be fully rolled out from 2023.

The necessary legislation will be published next month, and Garda management are expected to engage with potential suppliers shortly.

Pay and training

Pay is one of the other issues set to top the agenda at the AGSI conference which gets underway this morning.

AGSI general secretary Antoinette Cunningham said members would be viewing with interest proposals around pay, given the recent increase in cost of living.

She also called for face-to-face training for gardaí responding to domestic violence reports.

While protective service units receive such training, they are not the first responders to calls, she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The training available at present is online and does not go far enough and does not involve interaction with advocacy groups. It is not victim-centred, Ms Cunningham said. Training needs to be inter-agency and interactive, she urged.

The impact on victims was “very severe” which emphasised the need for face-to-face training, she said.

-Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke.

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