Garda chiefs examine cost of providing officers with body cameras

Renewed calls for devices following perjury accusations after Jobstown trial

Management in An Garda Síochána is examining the cost of fitting members of the force with body cameras to record their daily duties. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

Management in An Garda Síochána is examining the cost of fitting members of the force with body cameras to record their daily duties. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

 

Managers in An Garda Síochána are examining the cost of fitting members of the force with body cameras to record their daily duties.

A working group has been established to assess what options are on the market and how much it would cost of fit cameras to gardaí on duty.

There have been renewed calls for gardaí to be issued with cameras in the aftermath of the acquittal of six men accused of falsely imprisoning then-tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell in a car during a water charges protest in Jobstown, Tallaght in 2014.

Gardaí argue that body cameras would protect officers from false accusations of brutality or perjury.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, one of the acquitted men, has accused gardaí in Jobstown of lying and engaging in a conspiracy against the protesters.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents rank and file gardaí, has rejected the accusations and repeated calls for body cameras to ensure incidents like the Jobstown protests are properly recorded.

“This creates fairness for all parties, not just the gardaí. The GRA has repeatedly requested that such body cams be issued to members as part of their standard issue but to no avail,” GRA spokesman John O’Keefe said.

A Department of Justice spokesman said on Monday that a preliminary procurement process was already underway.

“There is a working group within An Garda Síochána that is currently examining the options available on the market regarding body worn cameras, with a view to developing a business case should their findings meet operational requirements.”

Gardaí have conducted a pilot project for body cameras before. In 2012, the force purchased 15 cameras as an alternative to the use of handheld camcorders. Five of these are still in use and are deployed during protests and other public events.