Some gardaí will face re-training in how to deal with domestic violence emergency calls, according to the Garda Commissioner.
This afternoon, Drew Harris apologised to victims of domestic abuse that did not receive the standard of care they should have.
It comes after an internal review of 3,120 domestic violence calls that were marked as cancelled, rather than progressed on to the Pulse system for further investigation.
Of those, a third had a valid reason for being cancelled – including incidents where a number of neighbours had made different 999 calls about the same incident.
However, 45% of the calls have been sent to garda divisions for further investigation.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Commissioner Harris said officers are now working to contact every one of the callers to make sure they are safe.
He said calls that are not progressed on to Pulse do not get connected to charities, NGOs or Tusla and are not earmarked for follow-up investigation.
“As we are working through the calls, we are getting down to the real kernel of the cases where we have failed, I would say, in terms of all that we might do for the victims,” he said.
“We want to, at this stage, rectify that situation by reconnecting with them and making sure we can get support and services for them as they require.”
At the Policing Authority meeting this afternoon, Commissioner Harris said some of the cancelled calls were distressing to listen back to.
He said Gardaí will now be re-trained to ensure they deal with all domestic violence calls appropriately.
“We receive, as you might imagine, tens of thousands of 999 calls,” he said.
“Often, they are from individuals who are distressed or the situation they are in is very traumatic and difficult.
“We have trained our staff but we are going to have to re-look at that because the quality of some of the exchanges – not all of them – the quality of some of the exchanges were not up to the standards we would expect.”
Commissioner admitted the news will be damaging for the reputation of the force – but noted that positive improvements in recent years include the new protective services units, the increased focus on domestic violence and the increasing number of successful prosecutions.
“There has been a massive effort on this,” he said. “We are going to build on this; we will learn from it and improve the services we provide.
“But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and a lot of what we have done over the last year has been good quality.
“That is why I treat this so seriously and with some degree of dismay. I am very disappointed that this element of our service has failed some individuals.”
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