Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, and member of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, Alan Farrell, has today (Tuesday), highlighted the importance of Garda reform and welcomed the news that the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform will oversee this process. Deputy Farrell was speaking following the publication of the Garda Inspectorate report by Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
“Of most concern to me within the 500 plus pages of this publication is the fact that the Garda Inspectorate report has found An Garda Síochána to be in need of considerable modernisation in its crime investigation, operational and support infrastructure. It is vital that An Garda Síochána have the tools that they need to investigate crime and to serve Irish citizens and this is something that needs to be addressed without delay.
“Up-to-date dispatch technology, as well as efficient practices relating to the recording, classification and investigation of crime are essential. There is no room for compromise when it comes to effectively investigating and recording crime.
“The Garda Inspectorate report, a culmination of two years’ work, details the need for the long overdue reform of An Garda Síochána and reinforces the importance of the comprehensive justice reform programme already underway. This Government is committed to establishing a 21st century, world leading police service. Reform is needed to support the hundreds of hard working and dedicated rank and file officers, reserves and support staff who are being held back by outdated practises.
“Since coming into office, this Government has established an independent Police Authority, we have strengthened the powers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and we have begun the process of recruiting the Garda Commissioner by open competition. This programme of reform was largely informed by the recommendations of the Justice Committee and I feel strongly that they will make a major difference.
“Following today’s report, Minister Fitzgerald has confirmed that the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform will take on a role in overseeing the delivery of Garda reforms recommended by the Inspectorate.
“A key part of modernising the operations of An Garda Síochána is the streamlining of Data management. I am very pleased that Garda management have confirmed that a new Data Quality Team will be set up and that measures are to be introduced to strengthen PULSE governance arrangements. Minister Fitzgerald also today confirmed that the CSO will chair an expert panel who will review the crime counting and detection rules, with a view to introducing new national standards.
“As well as modernising An Garda Síochána, the Inspectorate report made a number of recommendations to reinforce the Government’s focus on a victim centred policing service. I am very pleased to see these measures introduced.
“It is obviously not good that shortcomings have been found in our police service but now that we know where the improvements are needed, we can take steps to remedy them. Government wanted this report and are determined to act on it. In the same way that the Minister has rolled out a programme of reform within the Department of Justice and in the oversight of An Garda Síochána, I am confident that she will display the same dedication to implementing a process of reform to upgrade and modernise the Gardaí, ensuring a top class, victim centred force for the future.”