The information requested by the Deputy is set out below. Both memoranda of understanding and information sharing protocols have been developed in the policing and probation areas.
In accordance with the provisions of the 2002 Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Police Co-operation, An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have established a number of Protocols. The purpose of these Protocols is to enhance police cooperation aimed at improving public safety throughout Ireland, disrupting criminal activity and enhancing the policing capability of both police services on the island of Ireland. The current excellent cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI is kept under continuous review with a view to identifying enhancements building on experience and the evolution of crime trends.
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has a current Memorandum of Understanding with the Police Ombudsman Northern Ireland (PONI) and GSOC’s other oversight partners (IPCC in England/Wales and PIRC in Scotland) for conducting peer reviews of each other’s cases where required.
GSOC also has a written Memorandum of Understanding / agreement between all four oversight bodies (including PONI) for joint standards and training / accreditation - this is commonly known as "LEOBAB" which stands for the Law Enforcement Oversight Bodies Accreditation Board. It is LEOBAB that coordinates joint training initiatives between the four partners and the group meets twice a year with the chair of the group rotating amongst its members every 1-2 years.
GSOC has informal agreements in place between the four partners (including PONI) concerning mutual assistance where required (for example, in the taking of statements from witnesses that reside outside the State).
GSOC has a written Memorandum of Understanding with FSNI (Forensic Science Northern Ireland) for the provision of certain forensic services.
An information sharing protocol between the Probation Service and the Probation Board for Northern Ireland in respect of the Management of Sex Offenders and Offenders assessed as a Risk of Serious Harm to Others was signed in July 2014. The protocol facilitates the exchange of personal data and other information to enhance public safety and enable both Agencies to:
- agree voluntary arrangements for community sentences.
- agree voluntary arrangements for post custodial supervision.
- share information for the preparation of pre-sanction reports.
I can inform the Deputy that my Department has not carried out a cost/benefit analysis of the development of further Memoranda of Understanding but there are excellent relationships and ongoing cooperation between relevant agencies.