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Wednesday 20 June 2018

Gardaí criticised for 'real gaps' in training and 'crowded, confused and inefficient' oversight

Criticism: Josephine Feehily
Criticism: Josephine Feehily
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

An Garda Síochána suffers from a "crowded, confused and inefficient" oversight regime, the Policing Authority has warned.

The authority criticises the makeup of the State's policing and justice structures and expressed its disappointment at the lack of progress on making the force more civilian.

In a report sent to the Government, chairperson Josephine Feehily said uncertainty among stakeholders about the authority's role has undermined public confidence.

She said such ambiguity has created a "crowded, confused and inefficient oversight regime", and is having an impact on the authority's effectiveness.

Ms Feehily said: "It has also impacted on the manner in which some stakeholders and groups, including the Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality, engage with the authority."

The report, which assesses the authority's performance, confirms the position of Garda Commissioner will be advertised early this year. Dónall Ó Cualáin has been acting commissioner since Nóirín O'Sullivan's retirement last September.

The report makes several criticisms of the force. It expresses concern about "real gaps in practical training and the continued absence of a training strategy, including a strategy around resourcing a comprehensive programme of continuous professional development".

The authority also notes concern about the slowness of Garda management providing full data on request.

"In the main, the reason for this is that the Garda Síochána have not, in the past, gathered certain data (eg how and where staff are deployed) centrally. In addition, there is an ongoing concern about the quality and accuracy of the key data that is gathered (eg crime statistics)."

The issue of Freedom of Information requests is also raised.

It is suggested that Garda management is slow to hand over information for fear it will then be sought under FOI.

"On occasion, the authority has been concerned that there has been a slowness on the part of the Garda Síochána to proactively inform the authority about problems and risks related to the authority's functions, sometimes because of lack of appreciation about the scope of its functions."

Irish Independent

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