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14.00 18 Sep 2018


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The Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has welcomed a Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland report, which has recommended 'sweeping reforms'.

The commission, which was set up by the Government in May 2017, has published its final report.

It includes 50 recommendations covering various areas - ranging from An Garda Síochana's approach to human rights, to major changes to accountability and oversight structures to clear up the "complex and confused" systems currently in place.

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One recommendation calls for a new approach to national security - with a new Strategic Threat Assessment Centre (STAC) to be headed by a National Security Coordinator.

The STAC would answer to the Taoiseach's department and have a 'small permanent staff'.

Separately, an Independent Examiner of terrorist and serious crime legislation is proposed, who would oversee how security legislation is implemented.

The report also calls for a more community-driven approach to policing - including making sure gardaí are more visible on the front line, and ensuring communities have a 'stronger say' in how their areas are policed.

It recommends that gardaí should wear body cameras and that improvements should be made to technology.

New oversight measures

The report calls for a new organisation - the Policing and Community Safety Commission - to replace the Policing Authority and Garda Inspectorate.

The proposed body would 'absorb most of the functions' of the existing organisations as well as taking on new responsibilities.

The Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) would also receive a "new name and new remit" to guarantee its independence, and would focus on "incidents rather than individuals".

According to the new report, a key goal is to ensure that police "will no longer be investigating themselves".

Meanwhile, another recommendation calls for a new approach to national security - with a new Strategic Threat Assessment Centre (STAC) to be headed by a National Security Coordinator.

The STAC would answer to the Taoiseach's department and have a 'small permanent staff'.

Separately, an Independent Examiner of terrorist and serious crime legislation is proposed, who would oversee how security legislation is implemented.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at a garda graduation ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore | Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

'Roadmap for policing'

On its publication, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: "I very much welcome the report published today by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

"The report has been written for the benefit of the people of Ireland and will help to deliver better policing.

"It will be the roadmap for our policing partners and An Garda Síochána for the next three to five years.

"I would like to thank the chair, Kathleen O'Toole and the members of the commission, for the time and effort they have contributed to providing this important report.

"Their very significant experience and expertise will be of great assistance to An Garda Síochána as we shape our policing service for the future.

"The report has over 50 recommendations and many more points of good practice.

"Some of the recommendations outline significant cultural, staffing, structural and system changes.

"As such, it is important that we carefully consider the implementation of this report".

'Transformative changes'

Kathleen O'Toole | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Kathleen O'Toole, chair of the Commission on the Future of Policing, said the message they received during their work was 'loud and clear'.

She observed: "Everyone wanted more gardaí working in and with the community. They wanted a modern, well equipped, efficient and professional police service.

"It was also clear that the current arrangements for overseeing the police and investigating complaints are complex and confused. Our report addresses these fundamental issues."

The commission's report also recommends a number of changes to the Garda structure and recruitment efforts with the force, including forming partnership with higher education institutions.

Ms O'Toole said they focused on 'transformative changes' to support members of the force.

While acknowledging that implementing the suite of changes proposed will be hard work, she added: "It can be done and now is the time to do it".

The full report is available here

Additional reporting: Jack Quann


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