Minister Flanagan welcomes launch of new Garda Operating Model
· New model shifts emphasis to local community policing
· Will result in more Sergeants and Inspectors on front-line
· Changes meet a key commitment in ‘A Policing Service for the Future’
22 August 2019
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris of the new Operating Model for An Garda Síochána. The new model will bring very significant improvements to An Garda Síochána’s structures, processes and services. It will increase the number of frontline Gardaí and maximise the organisation’s operational impact at the local level to deliver an improved, more consistent, highly visible policing service in communities.
Minister Flanagan said: “I welcome the rollout of this new operating model which meets a key commitment in the Government’s four year implementation plan (A Policing Service for the Future). It is designed to reduce bureaucracy and move real power and decision making from Garda Headquarters to the Chief Superintendents leading Garda Divisions in the communities they serve. Importantly, it will also result in more frontline leadership positions with Sergeants and Inspectors on the ground where leadership, supervision and mentoring is crucial.”
The Minister added: “This functional model has long been recommended by independent policing specialists, including the Garda Síochána Inspectorate and in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. It is a key Government commitment in the Garda reform programme and I am glad to see the Commissioner moving to implementation. In delivering on this commitment, the Commissioner has listened carefully to those experts and, crucially, to the voices of local communities who consistently make clear they want to see more Gardaí available on the ground. While new to Ireland, this model is the norm in other countries and I am confident that the new structure will serve Ireland well and lead to a more agile and responsive police service improving safety for our local communities nationwide.”
Notes for editors
Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland
The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland was established by Government in May 2017 to undertake a fundamental examination of all aspects of policing. It was chaired by Dr Kathleen O’Toole and comprised national and international experts drawn from diverse backgrounds. Its report published in September 2018, following 15 months of wide-ranging consultations and intensive deliberations.
In December 2018, the Government welcomed the Report of the Commission as providing a clear vision for a modern, highly professional, human-rights-based police service. An implementation plan for the report – A Policing Service for the Future – was adopted. The full text of Implementation Plan is available on http://www.gov.ie/policingreform.
Garda Síochána Inspectorate
The Garda Síochána Inspectorate is a statutory body independent in its operation. Its objective is to ensure that the resources available to the Garda Síochána are used to maintain and achieve the highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency in its operation and administration as measured against best international practice.
In its 2015 Report “Changing Policing in Ireland”, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate recommended development of a new Divisional model of policing which would address inefficient district deployment barriers and provide a more consistent approach to the deployment of resources. The Inspectorate also recommended empowering the Divisional Chief Superintendent as the lead person responsible and accountable for delivering policing services in their area. These proposals were brought forward in the Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme and piloted in a number of areas nationwide (Galway, Mayo DMRSC and Cork City).
Investment in An Garda Síochána
Record investment is currently being made in An Garda Síochána. €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment in the Garda fleet, ICT and buildings amounting to € 92 million this year.
In terms of personnel, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021. Almost 2,800 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014 and a further 200 Gardaí will pass out of the Garda College before the end of this year.
Recruitment of civilian staff is also allowing for redeployment of Gardaí to operational policing duties. As a result, there are now over 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,600 Garda staff.
In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, decisions on the deployment and best use of Garda resources are matters for the Commissioner.