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Sunday 11 December 2016

'Two tier' policing system sees vast majority of gardai deployed to Dublin at rural communities' expense - Garda inspectorate

Philip Ryan and Jim Cusack

Published 09/12/2015 | 16:14

The report found An Garda Siochana is using technology more than 30 years out of date.
The report found An Garda Siochana is using technology more than 30 years out of date.

THE Garda Inspectorate has criticised what it branded a “two tier” policing system in Ireland which sees the vast majority of gardai deployed to Dublin at the expense of rural communities under siege from roaming burglary gangs.

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In a highly critical report the Inspectorate found there is a disproportionate number of gardai assigned to community policing in Dublin divisions compared to rural communities.

Shockingly, Garda Inspectorate chief inspectorate Bob Olson also revealed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s constituency of Mayo and Kildare currently have no full-time community policing officers.

Even more worrying, the report found An Garda Siochana is using technology more than 30 years out of date.

Specifically, the Garda computed aided dispatch technology was described as a “1980s vintage computer system”.

The Inspectorate also found some garda stations are still recording 999 calls using paper rather than computer systems and one third of the force do not have external email.

There is also a four year backlog to examine computers confiscated as evidence in child sex abuse and serious crime investigations, and the delay is leading to the collapse of court cases.

The damning ‘Changing Policing in Ireland’ report found just one tenth of the force (1,337 gardai) are on patrol on a typical Saturday night at 1pm – a time of increased of crime levels.

I said there is a “culture of blame” in the force where gardai are afraid to admit to mistakes over fear of retribution from senior managers.

There is also a perception among gardai that the recruitment process is “unfair, lacked transparency and did not always ensure that the best candidates were selected”.

The Inspectorate recommends gutting the layers of senior managers in the force which would see the number of assistant commissioners slashed from 13 to eight.

“There are too many supervisors at headquarters and in non-operational roles to the detriment of front-line supervision,” Mr Olson said.

He also urged Garda management to hire more civilians to allow deskbound gardai to take up operations duties.

He said An Garda Siochana has one of the lowest ratios of civilian employees to gardai of any police force in the world.

He said his office called on Garda headquarters to address this issue in previous reports but so far there has been a failure to act on the problem.

However, the chief inspectorate said Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is “not sitting on her hands” and is working towards addressing the failings in the force.

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