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Government is to ask the Data Protection Commission to advise on data protection issues in relation to rolling out bodycams.

New law will pave the way for gardaí to wear body cams

Front-line gardaí have been calling for the roll out of equipment like body cameras and tasers.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Charlie Flanagan will today seek Cabinet approval to draft new legislation to allow gardaí wear body-worn cameras.

The proposal for body-worn cameras is part of the implementation of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

Front-line gardaí have been calling on the organisation to catch-up with police forces around the world and roll out equipment like body cameras and tasers.

Body-worn cameras have increasingly become a feature of policing in other jurisdictions, such as in some areas of London

The cameras are used to gather evidence and provide police with their own recordings of situations they encounter on their beat.

In drafting the new laws for Ireland, the constitutional right to privacy and the European Convention on Human Rights will be considered. The Department of Justice will also consult with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, while government is to ask the Data Protection Commission to advise on data protection issues.

The proposed new law is understood to be part of the government’s plan to ensure An Garda Síochána is “among the best modern police forces in the world”.

Work on the proposed new legislation is already underway, and it is the department’s intention to have a draft Bill ready before the end of the year.

In addition to body-camera proposals, the minister will also bring proposals to Cabinet today on extending the circumstances in which CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) can be used. 

The law current covers CCTV and ANPR at fixed sites, with the minister proposing to extend this to mobile sites.

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