#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Gardaí recording interviews still have to take written notes, and they say it's hurting their work

“It means we cannot have a free flowing conversation with the prisoner”, says one garda.

GARDAÍ ARE CALLING for the “antiquated system” where they forced to write down recorded interviews in long-hand to be removed.

The motion is one which is on the agenda at the annual Garda Representative Association conference which began today.

At present, legislation dictates that interviews under caution must be written down even if they are being record electronically, something Ciarán O’Neill of the Special Detective Unit says is preventing natural questioning.

“We have to take everything that’s said down in long hand and sometimes have to ask the prisoner to slow down while he or she is being interviewed”.

“There is no point in us writing everything down, its not practical when it is being recorded as it means we cannot have a free flowing conversation with the prisoner.”

O’Neill says that at present the tape recordings are only used when there is an issue with what was said, showing that there is a degree of duplication:

The tape is only called in if an issue arises over what was said or written down. We want the statement to be based on the actual recording rather than the notes. This is smart policing but at the moment the notes mean we are using an antiquated system.

The GRA say that legislation is already in place for ordinary interviews but need to be changed for interviews that take place under caution.

Reporting by Michelle Hennessy

Read: Guns, handcuffs and summer shirts: Here’s what they’ll be talking about at the GRA conference >

Read: Gardaí want motorcyclists to be careful this summer >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next: