Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said the importance of community based CCTV schemes must not be underestimated in the fight against rural crime.
“As a TD from a rural constituency I am keenly aware of the importance of community based CCTV schemes and the vital role these schemes play in helping to tackle the increasing problems of escalating crime in rural areas. I am also aware that CCTV has also aided policing and helping to tackle burglary gangs who roam around the country and this can be a problem in my constituency with many gangs targeting rural areas,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Community Based CCTV Scheme provides financial assistance to community organisations towards the capital costs associated with establishing a local based CCTV system.
“I know there has been some debate about the ethical use of community based CCTV systems. The Data Protection Commissioner has confirmed that it will examine the status of these schemes. The Code of Practice governing the scheme commits to ensuring that there is no improper use of CCTV equipment, and that all legal obligations set down in the Data Protection Acts are met. The ANPR system is only monitored from the local Garda Divisional HQ. These stations are open 24 / 7 and always have a Garda presence.
“Community based CCTV schemes, the introduction of which was secured by Fianna Fáil under the Confidence and Supply Arrangement, have helped to tackle rural crime and helped to make communities feel safer. It’s important that the rollout of the scheme continues to receive our support,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy said that the importance of CCTV schemes could not be underestimated particularly in light of Gardai resources across the Galway/Roscommon having been raided under Fine Gael and Labour. The number of officers on the ground has fallen by almost 10% since 2010, from 237 to 215,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy pointed out that only five new Gardai had been assigned to the Longford/Roscommon Garda division to date and he highlighted the number of stations across County Roscommon which had closed in recent years including Cootehall, Tarmonbarry, Ballintubber, Loughglynn, Ballyforan and Knockcroghery. The Fianna Fail TD also pointed out that towns such as Elphin, Tulsk and Athleague had also witnessed a loss of Gardai.
Deputy Murphy said that rural communities have been hit time and time again. “Fear levels have increased, particularly in areas which have seen Garda numbers drop-A strong Garda presence combined with community CCTV schemes is an extremely important tool in the fight against crime,” concluded Deputy Murphy.