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New Garda Commissioner tells 185 fresh recruits they must 'be honest'

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New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris pictured at Garda Head Quarters
Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris pictured at Garda Head Quarters Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Drew Harris

Drew Harris

New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo: PA

New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo: PA

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New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris pictured at Garda Head Quarters Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told 185 recruits passing out from the Garda College in Templemore this afternoon that they must be operationally honest and act with integrity to retain the support of the public.

Mr Harris explained what he meant by "operationally honest".

He said the gardai must act in the best interests of the public, be upfront with people and treat everyone they met with respect, dignity and empathy.

"We will ensure that this happens internally as well. We must respect and listen to our people.

"Any ideas of on how we can improve, regardless of where they come from, should always be welcomed.

"Similarly, we will be more receptive to constructive criticism, whether it comes from inside or outside the organisation", Mr Harris added.

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Drew Harris (Niall Carson/PA)

Drew Harris (Niall Carson/PA)

Drew Harris (Niall Carson/PA)

He said the great support that the Garda organisation received from the people was vital in preventing and tackling crime and protecting the State.

But they needed to earn this support every day and it could not be taken for granted.

"How we individually and collectively work with victims of crime, the vulnerable, members of minority communities and the general public, determines that level of support", the commissioner said.

He reminded the recruits: "We are the servants of the people. A police and security service. We are here to serve the people. Not ourselves. Not the organisation. The people".

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Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the additional recruits being taken into the force every year would reduce the need for overtime in the force.

He said 800 gardai were being recruited each year - a net intake of 500 annually - with the aim of increasing the overall strength of the organisation to 21,000, including 15,000 gardai, plus civilians and reservists, by 2021.

He said the gardai currently had an unprecedented budget of €1.6bn but he did not comment on whether this would be increased for the coming year.

Mr Flanagan said he was heartened by the comments earlier this week from Mr Harris, who said he wanted to review how the organisation was spending its current money and whether it was using resources effectively before making a plea for additional cash.

Figures released this week by Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy showed that the level of drug crime in Dublin from the start of the year up to the end of August was up by 10pc, compared to the same period last year.

But the number of drug searches was down by 10pc.

Mr Flanagan said he wanted to compliment the gardai on their great successes against organised crime and other gangs in the cities and in the country and said today's ceremony would put an additional 185 officers on the streets.

A meeting to debate the current finances and overtime spending in the force is to be chaired next week by Commissioner Harris against a background of warnings that the force could overspend by €30m by the end of the year unless current trends were curbed.


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