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Thursday 14 December 2017

Blue Flew: Policing crisis if all gardaí who can retire, do

If all the gardaí who are entitled to retire in the next six months take up the option policing the State will become very difficult.

That’s the stark conclusion to a confidential report seen by RTE which reveals that 10pc of stations could be left without sergeants and 8pc could be left without any gardaí at all.

The two largest garda representative associations have now warned that as many as 1,200 gardaí are entitled to retire before next February creating a crisis in policing.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has called the reduction in numbers “reckless endangerment” and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said it could have a significant impact on the force’s capacity to police effectively.

A confidential internal garda report shows that many rural garda stations all over the country could lose all their gardaí and sergeants and are in danger of being closed and that the specialist units dealing with drugs, immigration, fraud and serious and organised crime are particularly at risk.

The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter says that important management and supervisory ranks will filled through internal promotions, but there will be no more gardaí recruited to replace those who retire.

The report advises that redeployment of gardaí is not the solution and could have an adverse effect especially on urban policing and serious crime investigations.

Mr Shatter, speaking on Morning Ireland today, said that under the EU/IMF deal the previous government had committed to reducing garda numbers from 14,500 to 13,000 by 2014.

He said that the document revealed to RTE was prepared by the Garda Commissioner in June looking at where matters stand now.

He gave an “absolute assurance” that gardaí will fully meet their duties and the crackdown on organised crime will be maintained.

“In 2006 there were 13,000 gardaí and nobody suggested that we would not be able to meet our obligations,” he said.

However, the Minister could not give an answer on the number of garda stations that might close, saying that was an operational decision to be made by the Garda Commissioner.

“What’s important in policing is not only numbers. It’s smart policing, investigative skills, reliable intelligence and technological developments,” he said.

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