• After the death of Detective Garda Adrian Donohue, I cannot sleep. Yes, I have emigrated, but I still care. I was a garda for seven years and am now a constable with the West Australian Police Service.
I am in a unique position as I can see now the brilliance of An Garda Siochana in many ways, and also the things it lacks as a force due to political ignorance. My new job has opened my eyes so much.
1. Interviewing: Allow gardai to interview in a free-flowing capacity. Gardai currently interview in a stop-start way that allows criminals time to think and evade questions. Gardai have to write everything down. Labour-intensive and pointless. When you interview a suspect in a fast, free-flowing way, the criminal is easier to nail down. Michael McDowell attempted to change this but it never happened. Why?
2. Place Pulse (police computer system) in every vehicle. Every other police force has this as standard.
3. A DNA database still doesn't exist in Ireland. Currently, in Australia, if you arrest someone for a crime that carries a prison sentence of a year or more, DNA can be taken from a suspect. This gets stored to a permanent database.
4. I think it is time to arm every garda and allow them time to practice at a firing range minimum twice a year. I am sorry but the day of Michael Staines saying, "the Garda Siochana will succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on their moral authority as servants of the people" is over. They should be carrying tasers also.
5. Ignore Merkel's demands and the need to save more money when it comes to justice. If a government keeps health and justice on the right track, the people will be relatively happy, even if you do cut other things. A politician who tinkers with health and justice will get the wrath of the of the public in a recession when things fall apart... eg, a garda being killed.
6. Give gardai cars that are roadworthy, not ready for the rubbish tip.
7. Stop closing stations. The lack of local knowledge that gets cut off by removing community gardai is so substantial that it's only when a killing or dreadful act occurs that investigators realise they don't know what is going on in an area anymore.
8. Unite the PSNI and Garda in an unprecedented way. Sign a cross-border agreement that allows gardai and PSNI to chase offenders over the border. The PSNI and Garda have a tremendous relationship. It's time to go further.
9. Prison sentences. Judges in Ireland... what can I say about the sentences they hand down? Enough said. This seriously needs to change.
10. Prisons. Ireland needs more.
11. Stop cutting garda pay. Morale drops. It affects performance.
Constable Peter Crosbie
WA Police and former proud member of An Garda Siochana