“The ultimate test is whether there is greater engagement of the Gardaí with local communities and greater accountability of policing services both at local and national level.”

Giving an overall welcome to the new Policing Plan announced today, the Social Democrats co-leader, Róisín Shortall TD, called on the Government to ensure that adequate funding is invested to enable the delivery of the efficiencies and improvements in policing promised by the plan.

Commenting on the new Policing Plan, Shortall said that ‘the ultimate test is whether there is greater engagement of the Gardaí with local communities and greater accountability of policing services both at local and national level.

“There are many good aspects to the plan. The reduction in the number of divisions and their proposed increased autonomy seems to make sense, and should enable An Garda Síochana to be more responsive to local needs and local communities. The devolving of power from headquarters to the new 19 divisions is also welcome and offers the opportunity to have local policing resourced to match local needs.

 “The increased civilianisation of An Garda Síochana, which we have called for many times, is very welcome. Freeing up trained and experienced Gardaí to focus on actual policing is the best uses of the skills and resources available to the public.

“A key test of the success of the plan is whether the public sees an appreciable improvement in policing activity in their communities and in particular that anti-social activity is tackled and that their neighbourhoods are safer.

“Our note of caution concerns the funding to ensure the plan delivers. Reform costs. We’ve seen plans like this in the past which have never delivered because of inadequate funding. The Government commitment to investing in a reform programme must be followed through if we are to have a policing model that is responsive to community needs.

“There will be challenges in implementing these reforms to ensure that there is no postcode-lottery in the quality of policing services. The emphasis on community engagement at divisional leadership level is welcome. Regardless of their address every citizen should be able to expect the same level of protection and assistance from the police.”

ENDS
22nd August 2019