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'I've been spit at, kicked and punched': Fresh call for body cameras for Gardaí

There have been fresh calls for the Gardaí to be equipped with body cameras following the assaul...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.10 17 Dec 2020


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'I've been spit at, kicked and...

'I've been spit at, kicked and punched': Fresh call for body cameras for Gardaí

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.10 17 Dec 2020


Share this article


There have been fresh calls for the Gardaí to be equipped with body cameras following the assault of two officers this week.

They were assaulted in separate attacks in Dundalk, Co Louth on Tuesday.

In the first incident, a Garda had her nose broken when she was assaulted while carrying out a routine traffic stop.

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Separately, a second officer was punched in the face while he was also conducting a routine stop.

One retired Garda believes that permitting the use of body cams within the force would be a "fantastic idea".

Breen told Lunchtime Live that before his retirement three years ago, he had always advocated for the use of this technology.

He said: "Anytime you have a situation where a Garda needs to confront somebody there's a potential for it to go in a way that might lead to violence.

"What happens is a camera or a phone is produced by a member of the public or the person that the guard is confronting and you get one side of the story.

"I think what a lot of people don't realise is the level of violence and the level of viciousness that is often put on members of the Gardaí when they're confronting criminal wrongdoing.

"You can say, this is what happened, but until you actually see it, you don't get the same idea of the fear and the violence that has been produced there.

Breen said he believes a camera would both assist the Gardaí and members of the public because it would "show a true picture of what has happened".

He added that the "vast majority" of his interactions with the public had been good and amicable.

However, there were occasions where confronting someone over wrongdoing has lead to verbal or physical abuse.

Breen said: "I've been spit at, I've been bitten, I've been kicked, I've been punched, I've had water, at least I think it might be water, thrown at me.

"The vast majority of it is verbal abuse, either abusing myself or members of my family, and it can often occur from very minor incidents."

Protection from 'malicious and false rumours'

Speaking on the same programme, crime journalist Paul Williams said he "completed agreed" that body cameras should be introduced for Gardaí.

He said "we live in the most surveilled society in history" and that nine out of ten people are more likely to reach for their phones to record an event rather than help a person who is in danger.

He added: "What they do is they pick on cops and they abuse them and they selectively record pieces and put them up on social media."

Mr Williams said the use of body cams has been effectively mobilised in the US, Canada and Britain, where police have been protected from "malicious and false rumours".

He said that people who abuse officers should be "named and shamed" and such videos should be uploaded on social media so that false allegations or violence against police are made public.

You can listen to the full interview here:

'I've been spit at, kicked and punched': Fresh call for body cameras for Gardaí

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Gardai on patrol at O’Connell Bridge in Dublin City Centre. Credit: Sam Boal/RollingNews

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