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Call recording absence ‘serious vulnerability’ for gardai

30 Nov 2021 / policing Print

Call recording absence a ‘serious vulnerability’

A review of the closure (including cancellation) of computer-aided dispatch (CAD) incidents by An Garda Síochána (AGS) has concluded that there is a serious ongoing risk to the force because of weak controls. 

Author Derek Penman has said in his report that the discovery of additional non-compliant CAD incidents in September 2021 suggests that current levels of supervision, quality assurance checks and the performance management in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) and three regional control rooms is weak.

The absence of call recording at local stations is a serious vulnerability, the report says.

The lack of sufficient technical or procedural safeguards to ensure that all incidents are recorded and appropriately managed makes this vulnerability more acute, the report adds.

Additional checks and balances should have been put in place to supplement supervision.

In 2017, the Fennelly Commission of Investigation said that a legislative framework was needed for a call-recording strategy, alongside the technology to record and retain calls, which balanced the right to privacy of individual callers.

Adverse impact

AGS also lack a “shared understanding” of what constitutes an adverse impact as a result of cancelled incidents, the report says, since some complainants could not be identified and the extent of any harm to them is unknown. 

The report concludes that AGS should consider whether the current model of call taking within regional control rooms and local stations is sustainable.

“This will include consideration of whether the potential to reduce risk, increase operational effectiveness and improve customer service through increased centralisation can offset the disadvantages of reduced local access and visibility,” the report says. 

Making contact with the gardaí is a major step for the public, especially those at risk, and it is imperative that all calls are effectively managed, the report says.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland