As the Deputy will be aware, in December, I published A Policing Service for the Future, the four year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Plan was developed in cooperation with stakeholders from across the public service and, in particular, with my Department and An Garda Síochána.
Implementation of the plan is being overseen by a dedicated Policing Reform Implementation Programme Office (PRIPO), in the Department of the Taoiseach, as recommended by the Commission. A Policing Service for the Future is a living document and throughout the implementation process, PRIPO will be reviewing and updating the plan as required, on a biannual basis to maintain ambitious but realistic commitments, timeframes and milestones.
Under the A Policing Service for the Future, the core objective for 2019 is to put in place the building blocks to ensure that all priority actions are commenced, and the Plan plots the actions to be taken/commenced in each of the four quarters in 2019.
Much has been achieved to date in 2019 under the Plan. For example:
- A Human Rights Unit has been established and the Strategic Human Rights Advisory Committee re-established in An Garda Síochána;
- An organisation census of An Garda Síochána has been completed;
- Phase 1 of the Investigation Management System has been implemented;
- Computer Aided Dispatch has been deployed in the Western and Northern Regions;
- An Garda Síochána's Senior Management Team have been trained on governance responsibilities;
- The Director of the National Security Analysis Centre has been appointed;
- The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2019 has been enacted; and
- Government has given approval for legislation to be drafted to underpin the use of recording devices (including body worn cameras) and for the codification of legislation defining police powers of arrest, search and detention.
An infographic on achievements in Q1 2019 under A Policing Service for the Future was published by PRIPO earlier this month and is available on the Policing Reform Portal on gov.ie.
As recommended in the Commission’s report, an Implementation Group on Policing Reform (IGPR) with collective responsibility for delivery of the implementation plan has been established with Helen Ryan, former member of the Commission, as its independent chair. The core membership comprises senior officials from the organisations most closely involved in driving the transformation programme – my own Department, An Garda Síochána, the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as representatives of other relevant organisations where required.
A High Level Steering Board, chaired by the Secretary General to the Government, is in place to help guide the work of the IGPR and to act as a clearing house for issues that cannot be resolved by the IGPR, or where particular blockages are being experienced in the implementation of the Plan. Cabinet Committee G provides political oversight of the implementation of the Plan.