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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Gardaí to be issued with high-tech devices to allow on-the-spot checking of motorist details

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Ralph Riegel

GARDAÍ will be issued within weeks with 2,000 high-tech mobile devices to allow for on-the-spot checking of motorist details.

For the first time, gardaí will be able to determine in seconds at routine checkpoints if a driver is disqualified or has outstanding Road Traffic Act issues.

The revelation came as Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that a pilot trial of 50 mobile devices in Limerick had proved hugely successful.

Road safety groups including PARC have campaigned for the mobile devices to allow gardaí determine at checkpoints whether a motorist is in full compliance with Road Traffic Act requirements - and offer gardaí the same technological support as if they were in a Garda Station.

However, PARC warned that such mobile devices can only be as successful as the data they rely on - and again demanded reforms to Irish data base resources to ensure Road Safety Authority and Court Service data is accurate, integrated and up to date for gardaí.

Mr Flanagan, in a Dail reply to Tommy Broughan TD, confirmed the provision and deployment of the hand-held devices for gardaí.

"There has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years," he said.

"An allocation of €1.76bn has been provided to An Garda Síochána for 2019. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342m in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.

"This continuing investment in people and capital supports the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime."

Mr Flanagan said the 2,000 mobile devices would now be provided following special pilot trials.

"The implementation of the 'Policing Service for the Future' report includes a specific action for Gardaí to acquire and commence the deployment of 2,000 mobile devices for frontline policing by Quarter Four (September/October) of this year," he said.

Now, under the ACTIVE Mobility programme, mobile devices - known as Mobile Data Stations - will support front-line members with special apps.

"It will provide the same access to information as if the Garda were at a station, allowing him or her to be more active and visible in the community."

Under the pilot trial, 50 devices were tested by gardaí in the Limerick division.

The trial proved very successful and Commissioner Drew Harris now hopes to have procurement completed to allow 2,000 mobile units to be delivered to gardaí nationwide from September/October.

PARC said it hoped the new technology, supported by an up-to-date, integrated and accurate database, would allow gardaí better crackdown on drivers who flaunt road safety rules and regulations.

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