Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (130)

Bernard Durkan


130. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which policing methods here, including community policing, replicate best practice in other European countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27190/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is statutorily responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, and I, as Minister, do not have responsibility for this matter.

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 contains provisions to assist the Garda Síochána to operate to international best practice. For example, the Act requires the Garda Síochána Inspectorate to benchmark their recommendations by reference to the best standards of comparable police services, therefore, every inspection conducted by the Garda Inspectorate, and any recommendation arising therefrom, has involved examining and taking account of policing best practice internationally.

The Deputy may also wish to note that one of the functions of the Garda Professional Standards Unit, is to promote the highest standards of practice, as measured by reference to the best standards of comparable police services. The Unit undertakes reviews, as directed by the Garda Commissioner, into operational, administrative and management matters relating to the Garda Síochána at all levels. Arising from these reviews, measures to improve performance and promote the highest standards of practice throughout the Garda Síochána are proposed. The Garda Commissioner draws on the Unit's proposals to enhance policing practices and policies.

The Commission on the Future of Policing recommended a move towards a new district or local model for community policing, where all police personnel, sworn and unsworn, are to be considered to be community police. All personnel will be part of a single district policing team working to keep communities safe, and all should see their overarching collective function as solving problems affecting community safety in their district.

The Deputy will be aware that on 18 December 2018 the Government endorsed the report of the Commission and agreed to accept all 157 key recommendations contained in the report, including in relation to a new policing model. Garda management are currently developing the new model of community policing based on delivering localised policing services to meet the differing needs of different communities. Most importantly, local frontline policing will be placed at the core of our policing service, ensuring that Gardaí are more active and visible in communities. Under A Policing Service for the Future, the high level implementation plan giving effect to the Commission’s recommendations, An Garda Síochána has been piloting the new local policing model in four Divisions - Mayo, Galway, Cork and DMR South - since February. The model has been designed to deliver more visible frontline policing and to ensure that Garda resources are deployed to best effect.