Wednesday 18 October 2017

Watchdog seeks garda recruitment shake-up

Chairperson of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily.
Chairperson of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily.
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The garda oversight body is pushing the Government to allow for more senior gardaí to be recruited from outside the force. The move by the Policing Authority signals a major shake-up in how roles in the upper echelons are filled.

The chairperson of the authority, Josephine Feehily, also told the Oireachtas Justice Committee it was disappointed that it had not been consulted about a raft of senior garda appointments earlier this year.

At present, only the positions of Garda Commissioner and the two Deputy Commissioners can be recruited from outside the force.

But Ms Feehily said it wanted to have open recruitment "moved down another level" to include assistant commissioners, of which there are currently 12.

The comments raise the prospect that senior roles in An Garda Síochána could soon be filled by officers who formerly worked for foreign police forces.

Ms Feehily also suggested that other radical changes to recruitment and promotion, being considered by the Garda Inspectorate, would help change the culture of the gardaí and introduce new ideas.

This would include allowing officers to skip grades when they are promoted, something she said was "not unheard of" in other jurisdictions.

"One way of influencing culture is by letting in fresh thinking," said Ms Feehily.

Shaking things up would allow for people with "good ideas" to rise through the ranks quicker. Ms Feehily also said the authority was in the middle of a formal review of the protected disclosures policy for whistleblowers and would be producing a report in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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