Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (265)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

265. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which crime scene investigator posts within An Garda Síochána are being filled by civilians; his views on whether such civilianisation is appropriate in view of the legal powers required and nature of the work involved as a crime scene investigator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16345/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who has responsibility to manage and control generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána including where Gardaí are deployed.

The 2014 Garda Inspectorate Report on Crime Investigation notes, in relation to forensic Crime Scene Examiners (CSEs),that in most other police services the function of crime scene examination is carried out by non-sworn police support staff.  The Garda Inspectorate’s 2015 report 'Changing Policing in Ireland' further highlighted  the role of civilian support staff in providing forensic and scenes of crime support to sworn police officers in other countries such as the United States and in United Kingdom police services, including the PSNI. The report recommended that the forensic functions of the Garda Technical Bureau be divested to Forensic Science Ireland. This recommendation was accepted by Government and responsibility for the forensic services is now being transferred to Forensic Science Ireland, where a mix of civilian scientists and experienced Garda members will provide such services. The scenes of crime services will also progress towards civilianisation, with care being taken to ensure at all times that the personnel involved have the experience and qualifications required to provide a service to the best international standards.

The Government supports the Garda Commissioner in his proposals to redeploy Garda Members to front line duties.  This approach is very much in line with the Report of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland which was approved by Government in December.   Civilianisation of roles and redeployment are among the key projects  being progressed in 2019 in the Implementation Plan which I published in December - A Policing Service for the Future - and I am confident the full realisation of these projects will deliver a better policing service to the public.