Saturday 20 July 2019

Garda watchdog to be automatically contacted when officers use force

Stock photo
Stock photo
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE Garda watchdog would get automatic emails on incidents where force is used - including the deployment of incapacity spray and tasers - under plans being developed by the gardaí.

It comes after a Garda Inspectorate report into public order policing included a recommendation that the the remit of the Garda Public Order Steering Group be expanded to include the internal monitoring of use of force.

The report said that data on use of force should also be published on the garda website.

Hugh Hume of the Garda Inspectorate has today told a meeting of the Policing Authority that use of force reports are in existence in other jurisdictions.

He said it is good practice that should be replicated by the gardaí.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told the meeting that his organisation has accepted the vast majority of the 19 recommendations in the Garda Inspectorate report.

Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan said that use of force data recording mechanisms are being examined and the Garda PULSE computer system needs to be modified to allow for such reporting.

He said plans include automatic emails to the watchdog, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), on incidents when the use of force takes place.

He also said that the gardaí should be in a position to create use of force reports by early next year.

Mr Sheehan said that the way data is captured on PULSE does not lend itself to recording the use of incapacity sprays or tasers.

He said changes to the system will make it “a lot more transparent”.

The the Garda Inspectorate carried out its review on behalf of the Policing Authority and its report was published yesterday.

It followed the Authority's oversight and assessment of the Garda response to two high-profile incidents involving public order policing - the Jobstown protest at An Cosan in 2014, and the North Frederick Street protests in 2018 - and how key findings have not yet been implemented.

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