Minister Flanagan publishes Garda Inspectorate report “Policing with Local Communities”
Minister will refer report to Garda Commissioner and Implementation Group for Policing Reform
21 December 2018
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today published a report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate entitled “Policing with Local Communities”. Completion and publication of this report marks the fulfilment of the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to review of Garda districts and dispersement of resources.
Minister Flanagan said: “I am pleased to publish today the report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate ‘Policing with Local Communities’. The report is broad and detailed and it will be carefully studied by my Department. I also intend to refer the report to the Garda Commissioner, for his consideration as a resource to assist in his leadership of the organisation.
Earlier this week, the Government endorsed the key recommendations contained within the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and published ‘A Policing Service for the Future’ – the implementation plan for the Commission’s report. Insofar as the Inspectorate report includes analysis of issues relating to reform, I will also refer it to the Implementation Group for Policing Reform, so that it can be taken into account in their work.”
Following a request in 2016 by the former Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald, the report was prepared by the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, at the request of the Policing Authority. It was approved by the Policing Authority and presented to the Minister on 17 December 2018.
The report addresses a wide range of issues around how policing is delivered to local communities. It finds that the responsibility for decisions on boundaries and dispersement of Garda resources – including the number, type and location of Garda stations - should rest with the Garda Commissioner.
The report suggests that key factors in the efficient provision of local police services include service criteria, response times, mobility of resources and visibility.
The report suggests a number of principles and actions for An Garda Síochána to consider in order to enable demand for policing services to be better understood, to enhance service delivery and to assist in the effective allocation of resources. It also makes a number of recommendations as to how Garda visibility could be improved and in relation to other matters, including rural crime and a national approach to custody facilities. The report also deals with a broad range of issues relevant to the ongoing programme of Garda reform.
The related commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government for a Garda station pilot reopening project continues to progress. The Office of Public Works has indicated that it envisages all necessary works will be complete to enable the 6 Garda stations included in that pilot project to reopen during 2019.
The Garda Síochána Inspectorate report can be found on the website of the Department of Justice and Equality at www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Garda_Síochána_Inspectorate_Report _Policing_with_Local_Communities.pdf/Files/Garda_Síochána_Inspectorate_Report _Policing_with_Local_Communities.pdf
Note to Editors
The Programme for a Partnership Government also included a commitment, linked to the review, to launch a pilot scheme to reopen 6 Garda stations, both urban and rural, to determine possible positive impacts on criminal activity, with a special emphasis on burglaries, theft and public order.
The then-Garda Commissioner recommended that stations in the following locations be reopened on a pilot basis: Ballinspittle, Co. Cork; Bawnboy, Co. Cavan; Donard, Co. Wicklow; Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow; and Rush and Stepaside, Co. Dublin.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation and are continuing to engage with the Garda authorities in relation to the design, planning (where required) and procurement of the works required to permit the reopening of these buildings as operational Garda stations.
As the works required are different at each of the 6 former stations, it can be expected that they will reopen at different times. The Office of Public Works expects that works should be completed on all 6 stations in 2019.