'Intolerable' CCTV row stopping Laois communities from tackling crime

Laois Sinn Féin TD wants Government to step in

Leinster Express Reporter

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CCTV crime stall

The 'intolerable' row over data control that is preventing communites to erect CCTV to prevent crime is must be settled by Government, according to a Laois TD.

Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley says that a number of Community Alert Groups in the County that have been approved for grant aid to erect CCTV cameras are unable to draw it down due to a dispute over data control.

"This is intolerable and the matter needs to be resolved at Government level. The problem centres around whether An Garda Síochana or Local Authorities, in this case Laois County Council would control the data collected on community CCTV cameras. 

He said CCTV Schemes such as Borris in Ossory and Shanahoe that erected cameras prior to the regulation being changed did not encounter this as a problem. However new schemes such as, Mountmellick are stalled due to the new requirements of the Data Commissioner.

"Where cameras have been erected by Community Alert Groups they have proven their worth in terms of crime prevention and in providing information to help Gardaí solve crimes. Several locations would benefit from new schemes in terms of reducing rural crime and with easy motorway access to most of the County, there is a need for local CCTV schemes," he said.

Dep Stanley said the Community Alert Groups had to put in a huge amount of voluntary work to bring the schemes forward and had to engage in extensive fundraising efforts. He said they also have had to clear a number of hurdles such as planning permission for columns to put cameras on and secure locations for them. What they now need is the co-operation of Government and statutory agencies. To date they have being coming up against a brick wall. 

"I have asked the Department and the Minister for Justice “what actions are been taken to resolve the dispute regarding whether the Gardaí or Local Authorities control the data from Community CCTV Schemes as this is preventing a number of Community Alert Groups from drawing down grant aid,” he concluded.

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