Local authorities need to be more active in promoting Community Based CCTV

Leitrim Observer reporter

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CCTV

The Community CCTV programme is being funded by the Department of Justice .

Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice has highlighted how the recent sale of a number of Garda Stations has again brought into focus the closure of over 130 Garda stations nationwide. “With many of these stations in rural towns and villages, it is now crucial that a proper structure is put in place, so as to provide protection to people living in rural areas and particularly those who feel vulnerable and isolated” he said

The Community CCTV programme which is being funded by the Department of Justice is one initiative which has the potential to help people in rural areas, he stated.

“Unfortunately, many local communities who are very eager to get CCTV projects up and running feel they are being smothered in red tape when they try to make their applications. This has resulted in a very poor up-take on the programme to date” said Fitzmaurice.

Currently applications must be made to the Department of Justice and must get a letter of approval from the Local Authorities Joint Policing Committee (JPC) along with authorisation from the Garda Commissioner. Unfortunately all of this is proving very difficult for local communities on the ground.

Fitzmaurice added “It is high time that the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in each county begin to take a proactive approach in supporting communities that wish to install Community CCTV programmes in their own areas. The JPC should be given a pivotal role in kick-starting projects in towns and villages, as they have, through the Local Authority been given a central role in the installation and operation of the scheme by the Department of Justice.”

He concluded by stating how “we often point to the lack of services in rural areas but the most important thing, at the end of the day is that people feel safe in their own homes. Community CCTV can help if all of the stakeholders take a proactive approach to making it happen”