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Retailers call on Government to review Data Protection Law

June 29, 2016

Data protection curbs are frustrating crime prevention and facilitating shoplifters

RGDATA has called for the Government to carry out an urgent review of the application of Data Protection law as it applies to the use of CCTV for crime prevention purposes. The call was made following the publication of the Data Protection Commissioners Report for 2015 which confirmed that retailers sharing footage of alleged shoplifters are breaking the law.

RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley said that the use of the Data Protection legislation to prevent retailers from using CCTV to protect their business was alarming and was creating a distinct legal imbalance between retailers and shoplifters.

Ms Buckley said that many retailers are effectively under siege as a consequence of repeated thefts from their shops and need to be able to employ technology effectively to help prevent crime. The capacity for retailers within a town centre or shopping centre to share images of suspected shoplifters, including people who have been captured on CCTV shoplifting was a key support for shopkeepers in protecting their businesses.

“ The Government need to take a look at this issue as a matter of urgency. The Report from the Data Protection Commissioner confirms that the balance of the law in this area has now tilted distinctly in favour of those that seek to commit crime by shoplifting from retailers. If the law stands as it is retailers will be inhibited in their capacity to adequately defend their businesses. Not only will they suffer the loss of stock if their shop is robbed, but they will also potentially face prosecution by the Data Protection Commissioner if they take measures to protect their businesses through the use of CCTV.”

Ms Buckley said that RGDATA would be seeking a meeting with the Minister with responsibility for Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD to see if there is national discretion to amend Data Protection law to facilitate the use of CCTV for crime prevention in retail premises.

“ We need to get the balance right here. Clearly people have a right to privacy. But equally business people have an entitlement to protect their livelihoods from theft and should be able to use modern technology to achieve this aim. It is also important that retailers should be able to work together to prevent crime and sharing CCTV images and information with each other about alleged perpetrators is a critical element to stopping retail crime.”

  1. Peter Murrayhill - Dublin Crimewatch

    I wish to advise that Dublin Crimewatch Retail Radio System provides an Advisory and Communication Service to many Retail Businesses with premises in the Dublin city centre, many of our customers are members of RGDATA ( Full List Available ).
    The service we provide is designed to assist all customers in their task to combat both Fraud & Theft and agree with most comments made in your publication.
    We believe that when members of Dublin Crimewatch relay information to each other via our Retail Radio System that is always accurate, these persons would be ' Persons Who Have Been Caught Stealing or Persons Who Have Attempted To Steal ( Recovery Of Goods ).
    The use of CCTV by Retail Businesses when Theft has been committed is always passed onto An Garda Siochana as potential evidence, however we believe that in certain circumstances that members of an Registered Group or Association should have the right to circulate CCTV images of theft taking place to other members in order to prevent further thefts taking place.
    We believe that at present, the current Data Protection Act - Protects The Offender but infringes upon the Right Of The Offended ( Retail Business ) so I have spoken to some Members of Government ( T.D's ) to enquire about ways of amending the Data Protection Act
    Please contact me if you require more detailed information,
    Kind Regards

    Peter Murrayhill M.Sec.I.I
    Managing Director
    DUBLIN CRIMEWATCH - Retail Radio System
    Level 4, Prosperity Chambers
    5-7 Upper O'Connell Street,
    Dublin 1
    Tel: 01-8720825 & 086-8497361 ( 24hrs 0
    Email: ( 1 )
    ( 2 )

    Jun 30th, 2016

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