Residents and the business community of Midleton face a delay of up to one year before the installation of CCTV cameras. The market town is among a number of countywide community initiatives in limbo following changes to Data Protection legislation.
At the October Sitting of full Council, Social Democrat Cllr June Murphy requested a full update on the new installation of CCTV Schemes in Cork County. Eleven communities were picked for high-tech CCTV cameras, including Midleton, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry, Schull, Dunmanway and Macroom, with two schemes currently being finalised in Mitchelstown and Charleville.
Assessment of schemes in Castletownbere and Bandon have commenced, but Cork County Council is unable to progress presently as talks are ongoing between the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána and Local Authorities in an effort to define the role of the Data Protection Officer following the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.
Last May Cork County Council signed a contract with ADA Security Systems to cast a digital net around the market town, protecting businesses and homes close to the Main Street. The new hi-tech CCTV system was expected to be operational by September 2017, but new EU data regulations are preventing the system from being installed.
Since 25 May 2018 new EU Data Protection Laws have changed the way in which we capture and handle CCTV footage, which means that evidence from county run CCTV systems could be challenged in Court, if the Local Authority does not comply. The new General Data Protection Regulation requires Local Authorities to employ a data controller, as Gardaí who use the information from the CCTV systems can no longer be the keeper of DATA. CEO of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey told Monday’s Sitting of full Council that legislation needs to be implemented at national level before schemes can move forward. “Ideally, for surveillance and crime prevention, the Data Controller should be An Gárda Siochána. In the event of Council requiring access to systems for litter and other issues under Council Jurisdiction, then we should be Data Controlled” said Mr Lucey.
The application for a CCTV system for Midleton was first made in 2014. Funding of €100,000 was provided in the Midleton Town Council budget in 2013 for the initiative. In 2014 Midleton CCTV Ltd was established, with membership of the Company drawn from members of the former Town Council Joint Policing Committee. A number of surveys were carried out to ensure optimum benefit from the system. A letter is to be sent to the Department of Justice and Department of the Environment to seek further clarity.