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Minister Flanagan publishes Policing Authority report on policing reform

  • Report is Authority’s final quarterly progress report on previous Garda reform programme
  • Policing reform now guided by recommendations of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, today published the Policing Authority’s seventh and final report assessing progress made by An Garda Síochána in its implementation of the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate’s 2015 report Changing Policing in Ireland

An Garda Síochána had been implementing these recommendations through the previous Garda reform programme – the Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021. This programme has now been superseded by the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and the related implementation plan, A Policing Service for the Future, which was published in December 2018. The Authority’s report therefore assesses progress made on the previous reform programme up to the end of 2018. 

Thanking the Policing Authority for its work, Minister Flanagan said: “Through its quarterly reports, the Policing Authority has provided a very valuable, evidence-based assessment of progress on Garda reform since 2016. This series of reports, and the learnings made as a result, will provide a very significant resource to everyone involved in the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.” 

The Authority’s progress reports highlighted both the challenges facing the effective delivery of policing reform and the positive developments over the period. The final report identifies key enablers for successful change which will apply to the current reform programme, including the need for a clear strategic vision and ongoing investment in ICT, Human Resources and Finance. 

The Minister noted: “I was particularly struck by the Authority’s observation that insufficient attention has been and continues to be given to the key enables of change such as the organisation’s HR, ICT, Training and Finance functions and their recommendation that these enablers need to become the first and main focus of the change effort itself. 

It is essential that this learning is taken into the implementation of the Commission’s report in order to drive the reform process and ensure the vision of the Commission is realised. Capital funding of €92 million has been provided in 2019 which will facilitate investment of €65 million in ICT in order to provide leading edge technology, €17 million in the Garda Building Programme and €10 million for the transport fleet.  Also €10 million has been provided to support both the ongoing Justice and Policing Transformation Programmes and funding will be provided directly to An Garda Síochána to support the implementation of A Policing Service for the Future.” 

Implementation of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland’s recommendations has already commenced and is being overseen by the Policing Reform Implementation Programme Office (PRIPO) in the Department of the Taoiseach. Key actions for 2019 include the establishment of a Human Rights Unit and Human Rights Strategy to ensure all policies and practices within An Garda Síochána are compliant with human rights, especially when it comes to protecting the vulnerable in the criminal justice system. Work will also commence on reform of the current discipline procedures, the development of the Health, Welfare and Wellness Strategy and ongoing workforce planning and modernisation within An Garda Síochána. 

The Minister added: “The implementation plan for the Commission’s recommendations is ambitious but realistic. It contains agreed timelines for delivery of actions and identifies a whole of Government approach to policing reform with support from senior leadership across key Government Departments, including the Departments of the Taoiseach and Public Expenditure & Reform, my own Department and the Garda Commissioner. I am confident that it will deliver on the vision articulated by the Commission of the Future of Policing in Ireland.” 

Budget 2019 provides for unprecedented levels of capital investment in An Garda Síochána. This investment will deliver the modern technology that is at the core of modern policing. At the same time, the number of Gardaí and Garda staff will continue to increase in line with the targets set for 2021 of 15,000 Garda members and 4,000 Garda staff.

Download the Policing Report here.