Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 does not make reference to a policy or practice regarding missing person cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20429/19]
202. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which he plans to develop a cross-departmental framework on missing person cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20431/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 202 together.
On 18 December 2018, the Government endorsed the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and agreed to accept all 157 key recommendations contained in the report. On the same day, I also published a four year high level plan, A Policing Service for the Future, which sets out the approach to implementation, which will be overseen by a dedicated Programme Office in the Department of the Taoiseach, as recommended in the Commission’s report.
The Plan supersedes the Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 and is, in effect, now the one plan for reform of An Garda Síochána and policing generally over the next four years. As part of this plan, Divisional Protective Services Units continue to be rolled out with these Units focusing on specialised crime areas and services, including missing persons cases.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that Protective Services Units have now been established in ten Garda Divisions. It is expected that the units will be rolled-out to the remaining 19 Garda Divisions, on a phased basis, by the end of 2019.
An Garda Síochána has published Guidance on the Recording, Investigation and Management of Missing Persons.
This Garda guidance document sets out the structure and mechanism for the investigation and management of missing persons incidents, providing an overview to members of An Garda Síochána on all aspects and categories of missing persons, the services available within An Garda Síochána and externally, and the steps to be followed in all cases where a person is reported missing to An Garda Síochána. The document also collates policies, international best practices and operational procedures relating to the investigation of missing persons incidents.