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PA welcomes ‘improved’ garda performance
Bob Collins Pic: RollingNews.ie

10 Aug 2021 / policing Print

PA welcomes ‘improved’ garda performance

The Policing Authority (PA) has welcomed what it describes as an improvement in the performance of an Garda Síochána in the first half of 2021.

The oversight body today (10 August) published its assessment of how the force had performed against targets set in its policing plan for 2021.

The authority said that, at the end of June, the force was on track to hit around two-thirds of the targets set in the plan. It described this as “a considerable improvement” compared with previous years.

It warned, however, that there were continuing weaknesses in areas such as performance management, supervision, planning and training.

Human ‘inaction’

PA chair Bob Collins also noted the absence of any reference, in the garda report on the plan, to the controversy over the cancellation of 999 emergency calls, describing this as “a surprise”.

He added that there was a need to recognise that it had been human action or inaction, and not technology, that had caused the problem.

The authority said that monitoring the “performance culture” of An Garda Síochána, which had been highlighted by this issue, would remain a priority.

The PA and an Garda Síochána had previously agreed that the organisation would benefit from a greater focus on a smaller number of key projects.

“The reduction in the number of objectives or priorities has sharpened the focus and has brought greater clarity in the reporting of the year’s activities,” said Collins.

“Happily, there is greater progress to report as well,” he added.

Speedier call-backs

The PA report said there had been “much to be positive about” in the policing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the force to be agile in its response to changes in restrictions, while still maintaining a high level of community engagement.

The report also praised the continued high level of contact with, and support of, victims and those at risk of domestic violence, with more than 35,000 contacts between gardaí and victims under Operation Faoiseamh.

“Additionally, the Garda Síochána is currently reverting to 80% of reported victims by way of a call-back within seven days of them reporting a crime – up significantly in recent years.” it added.

More drugs seizures

The PA also noted a record level of seizures of drugs, currency and proceeds of criminal activity, as well as a significant increase in the level of detections of those driving under the influence of drugs.

Around 500 members of the organisation, including 70% of senior managers, have now received human rights training under a specially designed programme developed by the University of Limerick.

The PA issued a warning, however, on the development of a plan to assess the future needs and staffing levels required across the force. It added that it had been awaiting this document since 2019.

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