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policing authority

Report into cancelled 999 calls says supervision of gardaí 'not followed or not effective'

The report says the controversy suggests that supervision and performance management of gardaí is “weak”.

THE INDEPENDENT REPORT into the controversy surrounding gardaí cancelling more than 200,000 emergency 999 calls says that supervision of officers was either not followed or not effective.

An internal garda review previously said that more than 200,000 calls were cancelled over a two-year period between 2019 and 2020. 

The external examination was published by the Policing Authority today.

It notes that the training gardaí receive in call taking and dispatch is extensive, and members should have understood the limited circumstances when incidents could be cancelled.

It says policies and procedures were in place that should have identified unwarranted cancelled incidents.

“This would suggest that supervision, quality assurance checks and procedures for the performance management of individuals within regional control rooms and local stations were either not followed or not effective,” the report reads.

The document notes that the discovery of additional non-compliant incidents even after it came to national attention that hundreds of thousands of calls had been cancelled suggests that the level of supervision, quality assurance checks and the performance management of officers within the regional control rooms is “weak”.

“This presents a serious ongoing risk to the Garda Síochána,” the report says.

The Policing Authority commissioned the report as part of the ongoing investigation into the cancelled calls.

It is meeting Garda Commissioner Drew Harris later today to discuss the findings and recommendations in the report. 

The report was authored by Derek Penman, a former assistant chief constable of Police Scotland who has over 34 years policing experience.

Penman notes that the absence of call recording at local stations is a “serious vulnerability”.

The issue is made more acute by the lack of safeguards to ensure that all incidents are recorded and appropriately managed.

The document notes that there were cancelled incidents where gardaí responded and provided a service to victims. However, in some cases, officers requested dispatchers to cancel incidents and avoided following-up. 

There were also incidents where the information provided by callers was not accurately recorded. This meant gardaí were dispatched to the wrong locations, and callers could not be re-contacted.

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