“Forget about it” — that was what a former Garda said he was told when he asked how to view CCTV footage in a Garda station without a computer that could be used to access the footage.
The example of poor Garda resources was given on Prime Time last night by Luke Staines, great-grandson of the first Garda Commissioner. He was outlining to the RTE programme how he left the Gardaí disillusioned after three years with the police force.
The claim might seem unbelievable, but is also a recurring issue reported by people trying to provide Gardaí with footage while reporting offences such as close passing of bicycles.
“As I said I find it hard to define it as one reason why I left but the resource issue was definitely part of it,” said Staines. “There was a lady who reported that she got hit by a motorbike and she was on her push bike. She fell off and broke her wrist. When I went to review the CCTV back in the station, there was no computer at the station that could actually read the disk so I could look at the CCTV.”
Asked by the Prime Time report what he was told when he asked in the station how to view the footage, he said: “I suppose ‘don’t worry about it’ type of thing, you know ‘forget about it’ — which is frustrating because you wanted to do a good job and wanted obviously to help the lady who reported it.”
The experience by Staines is echoed by some cyclists as their experience when trying to report offences to Garda, as a number of respondents to IrishCycle.com’s survey said last year.
One respondent said: “They accepted it but I had to put it on a USB stick as they weren’t able to access memory cards on their PC.”
Another person said: “They couldn’t open the files I sent (Garda system does not allow Gmail links to open). I brought it with me on USB when giving a statement. The Garda just watched it on my phone (it would have been very difficult for them to really view what I was reporting).”
However, there was a mix of reactions, including one who said they emailed videos to Garda offices: “At this stage, I am now telling any Garda that mentions a memory stick that other Gardaí take them via email.”