On 18 December 2018, the Government endorsed the Commission’s report and accepted all 157 key recommendations. I also published a high level plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which sets out the approach to implementation over the next four years of the Commission’s recommendations, which will be overseen by a dedicated programme office in the Department of the Taoiseach, as recommended in the Commission’s Report.
The Implementation Plan identifies a number of actions to be taken forward in 2019 in respect to cooperation among agencies these include the mapping of existing joint working protocols, a review of information sharing protocols and the extending of national protocols to relevant sectors. Work has commenced and it is hoped to shortly finalise an information sharing protocol between An Garda Síochána and Tusla.
The Government also approved the preparation, as a matter of priority, of the General Scheme of the Policing and Community Safety Bill, as recommended by the Commission. In addition, to providing for a new coherent governance, oversight and accountability framework for policing in the State, the Bill will redefine the functions of An Garda Síochána to include community safety and the prevention of harm to persons who are vulnerable as recommended by the Commission. In tandem with this the Bill will place an obligation on relevant state agencies to cooperate with An Garda Síochána in carrying out this function. Work on the preparation of the Scheme is underway in my Department with a view to submission to Government later this year. Obviously a pre-legislative scrutiny process will be particularly useful in this detailed and far-reaching legislation and I look forward to engaging with colleagues across both Houses on this.