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Governance structure around public order policing is confused, report warns

A new report has found the governance structure around public order policing in Ireland is confus...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.33 25 Jun 2019


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Governance structure around pu...

Governance structure around public order policing is confused, report warns

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.33 25 Jun 2019


Share this article


A new report has found the governance structure around public order policing in Ireland is confused.

The Garda Inspectorate report also found there is limited strategic coordination in An Garda Síochana to deal with the issue.

The report was carried out as part of the Policing Authority's oversight of two public order incidents in Dublin - an anti water charges protest at An Cosan in Jobstown in Tallaght in 2014, and an eviction on North Frederick Street in Dublin in 2018.

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It found that the governance of public order policing is confused, and responsibilities overlap among a number of senior gardaí.

It also says there has been limited progress in implementing recommendations from internal Garda reviews into both incidents in Dublin.

According to the report, the lack of a Strategy Threat and Risk Assessment (STRA) - which would examine factors such as contingency planning and emerging protester tactics - is a "significant organisational risk" that should be addressed urgently.

Elsewhere, the review found there is limited external accountability with regard to the use of force by Garda members - despite the impact that could have within a community and its relationship with gardaí.

However, it also points out positive aspects - such as the "impressive" commitment and knowledge from chief superintendents and superintendents involved in public order policing.

Welcoming the report, Policing Authority chair Josephine Feehily observed: "The Garda Inspectorate has identified that the greatest risk with regard to public order does not arise from the potential for widespread public disorder, which in an Irish context would be considered relatively low.

"The risk arises from inconsistent governance and application of Garda policy in this area of policing. It is an internal risk rather than one posed by the environment."

The Inspectorate has made 19 recommendations to deal with the issues raised in the report.

It includes a call for legislation to 'fully support' gardaí using cameras at public events for evidence-gathering purposes.

Main image: File photo of members of Garda public order unit in Co Clare. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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