Thursday 8 December 2016

Gardaí need 500 recruits every year - O'Sullivan

Published 16/04/2015 | 02:30

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has told the Government that she needs more than 500 recruits a year to ensure the force has the capacity and the capability to combat crime.

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She acknowledged the current intake of 300 recruits into Garda College in Templemore would only keep the strength of the force "at a standstill".

The commissioner was commenting on an earlier call by Denis Ferry, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Superintendents, that an intake of between 600 and 700 recruits was required to cope with the depleted ranks of frontline gardaí.

During the association's annual conference in Naas, Mr Ferry said the force should be given a 50pc increase on the numbers envisaged by the Government.

Recruitment into the college was resumed last September after the Government lifted the embargo, which had been in place since 2009.

At the moment, there are 300 recruits in Templemore while a further 250 will be taken on later in the year.

"We are not gaining any ground in terms of our overall strength," Gerry Smith, president of the Association of Garda Superintendents admitted.

Mr Smith pointed out that in the past 12 months, 185 gardaí had been promoted to sergeant, about 160 had been granted incentivised career breaks, and 20 more were seconded to the Department of Social Protection.

Those combined numbers, totalling 365, exceeded those who were in training.

The strength of the force has fallen from 14,500 before the embargo to slightly under 13,000 at present and is set to drop further before the trainees are due on the streets.

The commissioner welcomed the commitment by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to continuous recruitment, which she said was important.

"Policing is a profession that needs a constant influx of new people," Ms O'Sullivan added.

Staff

Commenting on technology resources, she said: "We all know we are way behind in ICT.

"We don't have the proper systems to help you effectively allocate your staff to where they are most needed and when they are most needed.

"We don't have an electronic document management system, we don't have a contact management system and we don't have a lot that other police services take for granted."

She promised her senior officers that the force had developed a five-year ICT vision and roadmap that outlined what the priorities were, what they were going to cost and by when they could be delivered.

Meanwhile, Mrs Fitzgerald said it was wrong that TDs should name people in the Dáil, without evidence, under cover of parliamentary privilege.

Irish Independent

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