Wednesday 21 March 2018

Majority of senior gardaí feel morale is very low in the force

Chief inspector Robert Olson. Picture: Arthur Carron
Chief inspector Robert Olson. Picture: Arthur Carron
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Almost 90pc of senior gardaí feel morale is low in the force, an alarming new survey has found.

An opinion poll taken by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) found a massive 86pc of members surveyed feel morale is generally low or very low among gardaí.

More than half (58pc) of the members polled said their morale was low while 68pc said morale was low in their unit.

Almost two-thirds (63pc) said they were dissatisfied that their roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined.

Almost three-quarters (74pc) said they were very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their workload due to a reduced number of supervisors.

More than three-quarters (76pc) were similarly unhappy with the level of administration around managing garda computer system PULSE and the management of sick days.

Almost four out of five (78pc) said they were very dissatisfied or dissatisfied about increased responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the Garda Inspectorate has said there is a resistance to change in An Garda Síochána.

Speaking before the Oireachtas Justice Committee, senior members of the inspectorate said gardaí were "quite defensive" during discussions on changing how the force operates.

However, Inspectorate deputy inspector Mark Toland said when "new concepts" were explained to garda management they became more "open to new structures". The Inspectorate was appearing before the Justice Committee to discuss the publication of its recent report, Changing Policing in Ireland.

Chief inspector Robert Olson said the report found "ineffective structures struggling to cope with the modern demands on garda services".

It found deficiencies in "governance, accountability, leadership and supervision" in the force, according to Mr Olson.

"While staff identified positives such as a 'can-do' culture and a sense of duty, many described the organisation as insular, defensive, with a blame culture where leaders are reluctant to make decisions," he said.

Irish Independent

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