Garda middle management ranks are being boosted by about a third to cope with an additional workload arising from wide-ranging changes to the force’s operating model.
The Cabinet has given approval to a recommendation from Justice Minister Helen McEntee to change the garda regulations, increasing the maximum number of inspectors from 380 to 500.
Ms McEntee said last night the change was required to support the ongoing rollout of the new garda model and the significant increase of responsibilities for the rank of inspector under this new structure.
At the heart of the model, which is currently being introduced nationwide, is the delegation of expanded responsibility for a broad range of tasks to operational inspectors and its proposed there will be a need for 16 to 20 inspectors in each division.
The existing regulations are also being amended to remove the position of Garda Surgeon, which was civilianised on the appointment of the first chief medical officer in 1994. All holders of the post have been civilian staff rather than members of uniformed ranks, since then.
But the change was never regularised officially.
Added responsibilities for inspectors include duties involved in dealing with community engagement; performance assurance; crime; protective services; roads policing, events and resource planning; regular units; criminal justice; and Garda Ombudsman, discipline and complaints.
The measure is being brought into force in tandem with reductions in the higher ranks, including voluntary retirements.
The move was welcomed last night by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, which had been campaigning for an increase in the number of garda supervisors for several years.
Association general secretary, Antoinette Cunningham said the change was recognition of the clear need for more personnel at that rank.
Ms McEntee said: “the new programme for government committed to the rapid implementation of the report on the commission on the future of policing and the prioritisation of visible policing in both rural and urban communities and the rollout of the operating model was a key part of that process.
Meanwhile, a list of 32 inspectors to be promoted to the rank of superintendent was announced yesterday and included five members of the PSNI