Plans to allow gardaí to use body-worn cameras have been given the green light by the Government following a Cabinet meeting.

The move was welcomed by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan who said the use of body-worn cameras "will form part of the wider Garda Closed Circuit Television management strategy, to ensure a consistent and standardised approach to the management of all recordings".

Mr Flanagan said it is hoped that their use may increase public trust in gardaí.

He said: "The evidence available suggests that they can greatly improve police frontline capability with the accurate recording of incidents.

"They provide a contemporaneous evidence capture and a clear unambiguous record of particular events and interactions such as at public order protests."

Mr Flanagan said the legislation would also provide a legal basis for the extension of the circumstances in which Automatic Number Plate Recognition devices may be used by the force.

Addressing privacy concerns around the introduction of body cameras, the minister said that "relevant stakeholders" will be consulted during the preparation of the legislation.

The news was welcomed by the Garda Representative Association, which said the use of body cameras would be a win-win for gardaí and the public.

The GRA urged the minister to bring forward this legislation as early as possible.

GRA President Jim Mulligan said: "The roll-out of bodycams by police forces around the world and the evidence of their use to date clearly points to them being a win-win for everyone concerned about public safety, swifter justice and accountable policing."

Body-worn cameras, or bodycams, have increasingly become a feature of policing. The Government believes they have proven valuable in other jurisdictions in the gathering of evidence.

However, plans to legally underpin them in Ireland will have to consider the constitutional right to privacy and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission along with the Data Protection Commission will also be consulted.


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