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'An act of brutalism and like something from McDonald's': Gardaí are unhappy with proposed new uniform

There has been a lot of pushback against the new uniform.

uniform Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

MEMBERS OF AN Garda Síochána have roundly criticised the rollout of new trial uniforms with some members describing it as “something from McDonald’s”.

Some gardaí have described the summer uniform, which is being rolled out in certain stations on a trial basis this summer, as “the final embarrassment”.

The new uniform was unveiled at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) conference in Wexford last month. Since then, members have been outspoken on the issue.

One garda posted his dissatisfaction about the uniform online. The widely-shared post read: “When is this farce going to end? Society is crumbling and gardaí are getting McDonald’s uniforms on trial. Look at the deaths in the last few weeks. We have a serious problem.

“The proposed uniform is the latest and, I hope, final act of brutalism enforced on our gardaí.”

The GRA, which represents rank-and-file gardaí, echoed this and said that, while it was happy that management was trying to change things, their offering fell well short of expectation.

Spokesman for the GRA, John O’Keeffe, told TheJournal.ie: that the current Garda uniform was designed over 12 years ago and that advances in technology have not been included in their uniform.

He said: “While the GRA welcomes the piloting of any new uniform, the new concept shirt and trousers are receiving a very poor response from our members.

 A meaningful debate must now therefore begin as to whether the intention of Garda uniform is to purvey an image of smartness and authority as a symbol of modern Ireland with cap and black shoes — or a fully functional operational outfit combining high-visibility, anti-stab protection and heavy-duty boots for outdoor duty. Few would disagree with the latter image.

“Evidence-based policing suggests that a European style uniform would dispense with the necktie and shirt to be replaced with a liveried polo-style T-shirt while also replacing the Garda cap with a baseball-style that can be more easily stored and carried. The operational success of these uniforms is already seen in Divisions’ such as the Armed Response Unit and the Garda Dog Unit – to name but two. There is no reason that this uniform style cannot now be carried over to the rest of the frontline with appropriate distinguishing livery.”

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O’Keeffe said that the new uniform trial, which is being rolled out this summer across selected areas, is not a full uniform overhaul and that it’s “merely trousers and shirt”.

“It goes nowhere near what our members have been calling for many years and initial reaction has been very poor.

“We however await the feedback of those gardaí on the ground whom will pilot this small uniform change over the summer months. While early reaction from our membership is overwhelmingly poor, this is however a small step on the journey towards creating a force that can optically compare to others across the world – and more importantly, provide comfort for its users and allow them to do their job properly.”

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