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'Significant concerns' as only half of Garda reform targets have been met - Policing Authority

There had been an increase in assaults, robberies, and very little progress in tackling hate crime, the report said.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris following a meeting with the Policing Authority at Dublin Castle.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris following a meeting with the Policing Authority at Dublin Castle.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE POLICING AUTHORITY has criticised An Garda Síochána for failing to make progress on over half of its targets relating to reforming the police force.

The Authority questioned the “realism and quality of planning” undertaken, as a third of the initiatives were off target by March. 

“It is the Authority’s view that many of the issues this year were not just predictable but predicted, and that the Garda Síochána itself was aware from the start of the year that the Policing Plan was extremely unlikely to be fully delivered,” the report said in its conclusions.

The Policing Authority’s full report into the Garda Síochána’s performance in the implementation of the Policing Plan for 2018, it found that half way through the year, that half of the aims were already off target, and by the end of the year 61% was off target.

Table three Source: Policing Authority

Although the Authority praised the organisation for “exceeding” targets in identifying suspects and victims in online child sexual exploitation, and in organised crime seizures, there had been an increase in assaults, robberies, and very little progress in tackling hate crime.

The report said that almost all the detection targets were missed and that the Gardaí’s Economic Crime unit was under-resourced.

The following issues were also of “significant” concern to the Policing Authority: 

  • Recruitment of gardaí fell significantly short of target
  • Redeployment of gardaí to the front line fell significantly short of target
  • Resources and capacity continued to be a major barrier to achieving objectives
  • Performance management for gardaí and staff members is not yet embedded in the organisation.

In the area of Road Policing, the report praised that last year was the lowest year on record for road fatalities, but said that there had been a “considerable increase in the number of serious injuries on the roads”. 

But the report also highlighted the “significant progress made in strengthening governance within the Garda Síochána in 2018″, and said that one of its greatest sucesses was in the protection of children.

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Last year, 798 probationary Gardaí have been recruited, and 258 Gardaí have been redeployed to front-line duties since 2016.

It also said that the issue of data and how figures are used within An Garda Síochána is ongoing, and that the organisation is working with the CSO to try to make improvements.

“The issue of data quality has become synonymous with particular aspects of policing – breath tests, homicide and more recently youth referrals,” the report said.

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