Sunday 22 October 2017

Garda chiefs to be reshuffled in historic shake-up of the force

Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan with Chief Supt Pat Clavin from the Garda Professional Standards Unit and Asst Commissioner John Twomey. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan with Chief Supt Pat Clavin from the Garda Professional Standards Unit and Asst Commissioner John Twomey. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Paul Williams

ALMOST 100 gardaí are to be redeployed as part of the most wide-ranging reorganisation in the history of the force.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan plans to establish a number of new specialist units while merging some existing ones.

Her shake-up will see 93 senior officers of superintendent and chief superintendent rank being either assigned to new positions or redeployed.

This includes the official appointment of 40 newly promoted senior officers - including six chief superintendents and 34 superintendents.

The most controversial aspect of the 'transformation plan', the decision to reshuffle 12 chief superintendents and another 41 superintendents, is unprecedented.

The officers in charge of specialist units such as the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI); National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI); Garda National Drug Unit (GNDU) and the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) have all been switched around.

A number of detective superintendents attached to these units have also been reassigned without prior warning.

The commissioner said the sweeping changes were necessary "to develop the new structures, units and approaches required to ensure we are providing the best possible service to the public".

A new specialist squad, the Child Protection, Domestic Violence and Human Exploitation Unit, will be established by March 9 and will be headed up by Chief Supt Padraig Kennedy, who will move from the NBCI.

The Garda National Drug Unit is to merge with the Organised Crime Unit to beef-up intelligence-led operations targeting gangs across the State.

And for the first time the role of divisional detective superintendent will be properly defined. They will be given direct responsibility for crime investigations in their areas.

The main focus of the wide-ranging restructuring programme will be on supervising the implementation of change with a particular emphasis on crime victims and community policing.

They include the setting up of a Strategic Transformation Office to co-ordinate and ensure the implementation of the programme of reform, and a Risk Compliance and Continuous Improvement Office to support regional garda management in improving delivery of local policing services, governance and accountability.

The commissioner and her senior staff have been working on the broad range of reforms for a number of months.

Ms O'Sullivan said that her aim was to "deliver a victim-centred, community-focused police service".

"By placing superintendents and chief superintendents in these positions now, it will enable them to develop the strategies and structures required to bring about the changes needed and enhance the capabilities in their areas of responsibility."

The changes follow the publication of a damning report by the Garda Inspectorate which revealed that crime was being under-recorded and reclassified to less serious offences.

It concluded that there was a chronic lack of resources such as vehicles and that victims were either not taken seriously or kept informed about their cases.

 

KEY POINTS OF CHANGE UNDER PLAN

The plan announced by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan is based on internal and external analysis. The commissioner revealed the following changes as part of her transformation programme:

Thirty-four superintendents and six chief superintendents promoted to their new positions in An Garda Síochána.

Reshuffle of 12 chief superintendents and 41 superintendents.

Setting up of a Strategic Transformation Office established to co-ordinate and implement reforms.

Establishment of a Risk Compliance and Continuous Improvement Offices in each garda region.

The role of the detective superintendent in the regions to be redefined.

A new Child Protection, Domestic Violence and Human Exploitation unit to be set up next month under the auspices of National Support Services.

The Garda National Drug Unit and Organised Crime Unit to merge.

Irish Independent

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