Skip to content
#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
Garda checkpoints in the Phoenix Park in Dublin
Garda checkpoints in the Phoenix Park in Dublin
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

'New level of respect and acceptance' experienced by gardaí during Covid-19 restrictions

The Policing Authority published its fourth report into the use of new garda powers since 8 April.
Jun 5th 2020, 4:34 PM 20,565 27

THE POLICING AUTHORITY has said that “concerns remain” over how the use of emergency powers by gardaí during Covid-19 restrictions have been reported.

In the authority’s fourth report into the use of the powers since 8 April, it noted that gardaí continued to report comprehensively on their use, but said the data only reflected formal enforcement or non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations.

Concerns have also been raised about the vulnerability of the victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence while restrictions have been in place.

However, the authority’s chairman Bob Collins noted that gardaí had experienced a new level of appreciation during the crisis, which it was vital to continue into the future.

Under the powers, gardaí may direct a person to comply with the regulations and demand a person’s name and address.

An individual may be arrested them for failing to comply with either of these demands, as well as for failure to comply with the regulations.

Since their introduction, the Policing Authority has carried out reports into whether these powers have been used by gardaí proportionately and only when necessary.

Information has been requested from An Garda Síochána as to how many times each of the five powers under the emergency legislation were used.

There were 289 uses of the powers up to midnight on Saturday 30 May, an average of less than six times each day.

Meanwhile, anti-spit hoods were used in four incidents in the week to 30 May, bringing the total number of uses since 8 April to 64, including two incidents involving children.

The report also noted that 9 gardaí were spat at in the week up to 30 May, down from 11 the week before, bringing the total number of gardaí spat at since 12 April to 88.

However, the authority said the figures only reflect formal enforcement or non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations and not where the powers have been used by way of a direction that resulted in compliance by an individual.

“This may become either increasingly important or redundant in the coming weeks and months depending on how the phased return to normality progresses,” the report said.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan welcomed the report, but said he remained “very concerned” for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

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

Support us now

“I want the message to clearly go out to the women and men who suffer these dreadful crimes that supports and services are still available despite the pandemic,” he said.

“The civil and criminal justice system will continue to prioritise your support and safety.”

Chairperson Bob Collins noted in his introduction that there was the perception of a new tone in the approach of gardaí to members of the public and that members of the force perceived a new level of respect and acceptance towards themselves.

“It is a really important development that this is happening but even more important for the potential that it has for the future,” he said.

“It will not always be possible for the Garda Síochána to deploy gardaí in such numbers and in precisely the same way as now. But it will be possible for the same attitudes, tone and mutual respect to continue into the future.”

TheJournal.ie's coronavirus newsletter cuts through the misinformation and noise with the clear facts you need to make informed choices. Sign up here


Send a tip to the author

Stephen McDermott

COMMENTS (27)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

     
    cancel reply
    Back to top