Community CCTV projects in Laois in limbo over data protection
Community CCTV projects in Laois remain in limbo over data protection rules that are yet to be outlined by the Data Protection Commissioner.
Director of Services at Laois County Council, Donal Brennan, told the Joint Policing Committee on Monday that there are issues between the Data Commissioner and the Department of Justice.
"On a national level we are awaiting the review from the Data Protection Commissioner in relation to CCTV," he said.
While the national guidelines are not yet set out, there are a number of CCTV systems in operation in Laois which continue to run in communities.
Cllr James Kelly urged all sides to give an answer to the communities left in limbo.
"There is still conflict over who is going to be the data controller in an area and the CCTV with a lot of the groups that are in limbo.
"I am urging all sides to get together and give us an answer to this because we need everybody to help out. These gangs are so sophisticated now and we have great help from the community text alert as well," he said.
Cllr Tom Mulhall stressed how Laois has led the way in the setting up of community CCTV systems.
"The sooner the better we get that sorted out. Laois is nearly one of the first counties in the country to set up CCTV in Ratheniska and other areas.
"Community alert groups are working very hard in putting theses cameras into effect and that we don’t have the data controller at this stage or who is going to take up responsibility for data control? I think it is something we need to sort out sooner rather than later," he said.
Meanwhile, the The Mountmellick Neighbourhood Watch Group is working tirelessly to raise funds for their CCTV system.
They have been working on the paperwork, fundraising and the collaboration with gardai for a year now and they are still fundraising before they apply for funding from the Dept of Justice.
This group is putting in huge effort to hopefully be able to help their community but they do not know how the CCTV will be managed until guidelines are set out by the Data Commissioner.
Barbara Lalor is the secretary of the committee in Mountmellick.
“The information gathered on the cameras will be dealt with in a private and confidential manner. Data protection policies will be taken into account and it will be managed professionally. We will be working with gardai and the local council to make a safer community,” she said.