Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has announced a community CCTV grant scheme, whereby the government will offer up to €3 million to national constituencies over a three-year period. With the financial aid provided by the government, rural communities throughout Ireland can bolster their defences against petty crime and anti-social behaviour.
In response, Minister of State Joe McHugh has urged Donegal towns and villages to apply to the council in order to take advantage of the scheme. McHugh serves as the Teachta Dála (or TD, the Irish equivalent of MP) for Donegal and sees the scheme as instrumental in reducing crime throughout the region.
How the grant will work
The CCTV grant is set to run until 2019 and will offer eligible constituencies a total of €1 million per annum. Individual communities will receive a subsidy of up to 60% of the total cost of installation and integration of a CCTV network, with a maximum pay-out of €40,000.
Once a community has been green-listed to receive the grant, they will receive 50% of the total amount immediately, with the remaining 50% payable upon completion of the CCTV network. In this way, the Fine Gael government hopes to adapt to the evolving methods of crime around the country and bring crime figures down.
“These CCTV systems will act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour and enhance existing policing provision here in Donegal,” explained McHugh. “I am delighted to see the Government following through on the commitments set out in the Programme for Government. Fine Gael is committed to continuing to strengthen and update Ireland’s laws to tackle new and emerging crime trends.”
To qualify for the grant, the local policing community must give their seal of approval to the application. Furthermore, the individual communities must comply with the CCTV code of practice, which decrees where, when and how long images can be taken and stored.
Specifically, the adoption of the CCTV must not interfere with citizens’ privacy rights. That means cameras must not be positioned to monitor any premises (domestic or commercial) where criminal activity is not taking place. Furthermore, all captured images can be retained for a maximum of 31 days, at which point they must be deleted – unless, of course, they comprise evidence in an ongoing investigation or trial.
Finally, all areas under CCTV surveillance must have prominent signage, advertising the fact that people in the area are being recorded.
Small initiatives on a large scale
The grant scheme comes in the wake of a successful CCTV project in Dunmore, County Laois back in 2014. After the installation of the cameras, crime fell dramatically in the region, according to secretary of the local Community Alert organisation, Barry Foley.
“At our last AGM, our local sergeant came in to thank us because although some crimes had been committed outside our area, the evidence from the camera placed the perpetrators in the vicinity,” said Foley.
“We have little or nothing going on in our area because of the CCTV. It’s been a huge success. It’s good for everyone.”
Preventing both private and public crime
As the experiment in Dunmore and the subsequent expansion of the CCTV network across Ireland shows, cameras really can provide a meaningful deterrent to illegal activity and anti-social behaviour. Therefore, it’s imperative that every home and business owner in the UK (as well as Ireland) takes appropriate measures to properly secure their property.
At Blackburn Alarms, we have a whole host of intruder alerts, CCTV security cameras and access control systems to increase safety and give you peace of mind. To find out more about how we can help secure your home or workplace, get in touch with us today.