Tuesday 17 October 2017

Separating police and politics vital, says GRA chief

PJ Stone
PJ Stone
Frances Fitzgerald

Tom Brady, Security Editor

Gardai have warned the Government not to create a culture that will paralyse the force and leave its members afraid to take decisive action.

Rank and file gardai at the coalface need unambiguous direction and support to perform difficult duties, they say.

And they want Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to be wary of recommendations that could leave them uncertain of the outcome if they try to achieve a balance in complex scenarios.

General secretary of the Garda Representative Association, PJ Stone said last night the separation of politics and policing was the "sea change" they had long sought and everything else should automatically follow.

He said the garda commissioner and the minister had committed the force to a change in its culture and to renew the organisation.

Opinions

"Such use of language suggests that opinions within the force will undergo a complete turnaround.

"So far, every conclusion drawn on the problems of the organisation are leading towards the lack of effective leadership that has permeated down since the foundation of the State", he added.

Much of the responsibility for this, Mr Stone said, lay at the feet of the political powers that had continually meddled in the selection and promotion process.

He said many of the recommendations put forward were reactionary and could be examined in the greater clarity of a new, independent police authority to conduct the full review that had been promised.

Mr Stone claimed the country asked a lot of its gardai and too often they were at the centre of evolving, unprecedented situations.

He said there was a need for training to be more flexible to equip all new recruits to identify the courses of action available to them and be able to choose the appropriate response, knowing they would have the confidence of their supervisors and managers with proper resources to complete the action.

Irish Independent

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