Issues surrounding the ownership of data collected by CCTV community systems in villages and towns could finally be resolved in the coming weeks.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) had raised a motion at the online Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) asking what advice should be given to community groups who are seeking to install a CCTV scheme.
‘They want to know how to go about it and more importantly are they allowed to do it as there are existing issues with GDPR,’ said Cllr Murphy.
Insp Ian O’Callaghan, who worked on the installation of CCTV systems in several towns across the Cork West Division, said there is no doubt that community-based CCTV assists in the reduction of crime and increases the sense of wellbeing of citizens where it is installed.
‘It more or less came to halt three years ago nationally though due to issues over who would be the data controller. The main problem was that the data controller had to be the local authority but that wasn’t always practical as not all local authority buildings could house the infrastructure for the CCTV, whereas the local garda station would, and the local superintendents were quite pleased to be the data controller,’ said Insp O’Callaghan.
However, Insp O’Callaghan added that he recently attended a regional crime prevention meeting and was told by an official there that they are only weeks away from an agreed standardised protocol for the country between the LGMA (Local Government Management Agency) and the data controller for An Garda Síochána. ‘This would mean that the district officer can indeed become the data controller for community based CCTV schemes and it would be hugely positive.’
Insp O’Callaghan highlighted Bandon as an example and whereby three years ago they were on the verge of getting 30 cameras in place but it all came to a standstill over the data controller issue.
‘Hopefully now Bandon and other towns will finally be able to get community based CCTV and those looking for CCTV in their areas.’
The garda inspector also suggested that if other towns would like their own CCTV systems, then they should initially form a local committee featuring key stakeholders and including representatives from businesses, local politicians, gardaí and other members of the community.