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Irish cops budget €2.1M for body cams trial

Irish cops budget €2.1M for body cams trial

The Irish Gardaí are preparing a small-scale trial of body cameras, backed by retrospective facial recognition, prior to full deployment. The trial has been budgeted at €2.1 million (US$2.2 million).

Police officers in four law enforcement divisions are scheduled to be fitted with the cameras for the trial period during the second quarter. They will only be switched on by an officer during certain interactions involving the public.

A local civil liberties group has voiced muted concern about the trial.

That largely will be when an officer thinks there is a need to collect evidence, such as during arrests and traffic stops, according to reporting by local news outlet The Journal. The same rules will be followed during public demonstrations.

The trial reportedly is less about a technical shakedown period than it is an opportunity for police in the divisions to get accustomed to working with cameras. The public, presumably living in the divisions, will get the opportunity to give feedback, according to The Journal.

Collected video will be stored in a digital evidence management system for 31 days or until evidence is needed for an investigation or trial. CCTV footage will get the same treatment.

The Gardaí began laying groundwork for deployment last September, when officials said body cameras would make gardaí safer and more accountable and strengthen criminal cases.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties reportedly did not object in September when the trial was announced. At least some concerns for human rights have been addressed in the trial’s structure, according to media reports.

The political path looks similarly inviting.

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