Laptops are latest weapon for long arm of the law
New technology is finally set to make an impact on the garda force. Members of the force are to be supplied with laptops, personal computers and IT systems to help them fight crime.
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said yesterday that one of his first acts when he took over the top post was to appoint an executive director of IT from the civilian sector.
He said the force was currently developing an IT strategy for 2010-2012 and he had directed that the focus should be on ensuring that the work of gardai, even in the remotest stations, was fully supported and enhanced by technology.
Last year, the gardai spent more than €80m on IT projects and services, which was divided across the national digital radio project, and telecommunications system such as Pulse and fingerprint reading.
But this year, the commissioner added, he had approved a number of projects that focused on frontline service delivery, including the provision of email to all staff, a rolling programme to upgrade PCs and laptops, and including an extra 60 garda stations onto the Pulse network.
Active targeting of gangland crime had seen significant progress in recent weeks, Mr Murphy told the ASG (Association of Garda Superintendents) annual conference.
He noted that seven or eight files on gangs had been completed by the gardai and sent to the DPP, and said he hoped for decisions on charges in the near future.
More files were in preparation as gardai used the measures introduced last year to combat the major gangs.
Under the legislation, a suspect can be charged with directing the activities of a gang and, if convicted, face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while other new offences such as facilitating the activities of a gang are also included.
Asked about the conference call for more crime trials to be sent to the Special Criminal Court, Mr Murphy said this was a matter for the DPP.