A community CCTV administered by the Department of Justice and Equality must remove the financial burden of equipment maintenance from community groups a meeting of the Cavan Joint Policing Committee heard last week, writes Thomas Lyons.
A number of councillors said that, although the scheme is very welcome, aspects of its administration need to be examined.
In June, the Department of Justice and Equality announced details of the new Community Based CCTV Scheme.
The CCTV Scheme supports local communities in the installation and maintenance of CCTV security systems.
Targeted at increasing public safety and deterring illegal or anti-social behaviour, the scheme provides financial assistance towards meeting the capital costs associated with the establishment of local community CCTV systems.
Grants of up to 60% of the total capital costs of the system can be awarded up to a maximum award is €40,000.
Addressing the meeting Cllr Shane P O'Reilly (FF) raised a point about the location of the hardware: “Equipment should be housed in Garda station or in a local authority building.”
He said that there is a huge amount of forms to fill and that it is a large undertaking for community and voluntary groups.
Cllr O'Reilly said that there was a difficulty in housing CCTV equipment in community centres and that there was a potential for Data Protection issues.
Superintendent Jimmy Coen explained that the systems cannot be accessed by civilians: “No one looks at it [the CCTV footage] all the time, except in Garda station. Any request to view has to be time specific and part of an investigation.”
The meeting heard that the application must be co-ordinated by the County Council to get funding. Inspector Niall McKiernan said that as a community scheme the CCTV should be housed in a community setting.
Cllr Paddy O'Reilly (FG) acknowledged that the scheme will experience “teething difficulties”.
He said that, although the data controller will be the local authority, community groups will bear the burden of maintaining the equipment.
Chair of the Joint Policing Committee, John Paul Feeley (FF), said that the financial burden of maintaining the equipment should be assumed by the Department of Justice and Equality.