Thursday 21 September 2017

Senior US police officer Kathleen O'Toole appointed to chair Commission on Future of Policing in Ireland

Kathleen O'Toole
Kathleen O'Toole
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Senior US police officer, Kathleen O'Toole has been appointed to chair the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

The nomination of Ms O'Toole, the current chief of the Seattle Police Department, was agreed at Cabinet today.

The Commission is to conduct a "root and branch" review of the Gardaí in the wake of recent controversies.

It was announced amid the furore over the almost one million bogus breath tests recorded by gardaí and the more than 14,000 wrongful convictions in relation to traffic offences.

Ms O'Toole previously served as chief inspector of the Garda Inspectorate between 2006 and 2012.

She was the commissioner of the Boston Police from 2004 to 2006.

A Department of Justice statement said: "Ms O’Toole’s unique experience and expertise ensures she is uniquely qualified for important task to be undertaken by the Commission."

It added that the Commission will "undertake a comprehensive examination of all aspects of policing including all functions currently carried out by An Garda Síochána."

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is said to be finalising the terms of reference following consultations and expects to bring them to Cabinet shortly.

The draft terms of reference published last month show that the Commission will have a wide brief.

There are concerns about the accountability, leadership, management capacity, and the culture and ethos of the Gardaí.

The broad ranging terms are expected to include agencies such as the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the Police Authority and the Department of Justice in their interactions with the Gardaí.

The terms are to be finalised after consultation with opposition parties.

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