Gardaí need their own body cameras in order to “deter some of these attacks”, the President of the Garda Representative Association has said.
Video footage is circulating online that shows two members of An Garda Síochána being “viciously assaulted” outside a pub in Ballyfermot, Dublin.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of assault, while one woman has been arrested on suspicion of public order offences.
Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show, GRA President Brendan O'Connor said Gardaí need better equipment to do their job.
“We would certainly feel that international best practice… is that there should be more wider availability of tasers - I’m not sure if it would have been suitable in this particular circumstance, I’m not qualified to make those decisions,” he said.
“And also, what’s very frustrating is, we’re relying on grainy phone footage from a member of the public to bring these issues and let the public see what Gardaí are subjected to.
“Whereas, probably in most other jurisdictions the police would have their own camera and their own system to record the evidence and assist in the prosecution and perhaps deter some of these attacks.”
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) November 21, 2022
His calls for body cameras were echoed by Mark Ferris, the local GRA representative in Ballyfermot.
“This video has sensationalised the issue and we have always stressed that body and dash cams will assist investigations and will show society the difficulties our members are facing,” he said told Lunchtime Live.
Mr Ferris added that better equipment would improve both morale in the Gardaí and the health and safety of the public.
“Government and politicians have to provide them [Gardaí] with the tools that we need to carry out our job,” he continued.
“We are looking at a quarter to one in the morning, at unfortunately discussing footage from a phone recording when we should be brought up to speed with having the resources available and ready for us to conduct our work.
“That will improve health and safety, that will improve morale.”
Police Body Worn Video cameras have become more common internationally; London’s Metropolitan Police describe them as “an independent witness” and officers are meant to activate the camera at the start of an incident and are expected to only turn them off when it is no longer “proportionate or necessary”.
Main image: Members of An Garda Síochána. Picture by: Brendan Donnelly / Alamy