Confidence in gardai essential
Controversial issues related to policing have emerged and persisted for almost five years, indeed before that if allegations in the 1990s and early 2000s are taken into account, and show little sign of abating let alone being resolved following the publication of the O'Higgins Commission report, the latest in a series of reports which have given rise to serious concerns about the administration of justice in this country.
Such has been the nature and extent of maladministration exposed that a troubling risk now exists that irreparable damage will be done to the heretofore generally accepted good reputation of An Garda Siochana, and critically, to public confidence in support of gardai, which has been badly shaken by recent events.
The importance of public trust and confidence can not be overstated. It could be argued that trust and confidence is the essential prerequisite to effective policing policy and practice. The public engages in quite sophisticated inferences about the trustworthiness of the police. Public sensibilities towards the police are fraught with issues of authority, social order and security. In short, a trustworthy police force is regarded by the public to be effective, fair, and to have shared values and a strong commitment to the local community.