The Policing Authority has praised what it has described as “very significant policing successes” in the first six months of 2022.
It also expressed concern, however, that an Garda Síochána (AGS) was on course to meet only 15 of 34 targets set out in its policing plan for this year.
In its latest bi-annual report, the authority said that there had been “sustained success” in tackling organised crime groups (OCGs) engaged in the drugs trade.
Disruption of OCGs
The body also noted “continued, positive medium-term trends” in relation to the seizures of drugs, currency, and firearms.
“There were no ‘threat-to-life’ incidents in the first half of 2022, which is recognised as an extraordinary marker of success arising from garda activity over recent years that has real community impact,” the report said.
The authority praised the disruption to the activities of a number of OCGs, which included collaboration with international partners in the UK, EU and elsewhere.
“In this assessment, the authority records its appreciation of the very significant policing successes in the first six months of 2022, and the very challenging circumstances that frequently confront Garda personnel in their work,” said chairperson Bob Collins.
Pilot project on sexual offences
The report also noted improvements in the provision of protective services.
“There continues to be a focus on the improvement of service to victims of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence,” the body said.
It stated that the force had maintained a high rate of victim contact after reports of domestic abuse, adding that this was “an encouraging statement of the ongoing commitment to this area of policing”.
The authority said that AGS had undertaken a pilot project to record the outcomes of sexual-offences incidents marked as ‘undetected’, in order to quantify the barriers to detection in such cases.
The authority warned, however, that challenges persisted in areas such as human resources, workforce planning, training, information and technology, estate management, and finance.
These, it added, were preventing targets being reached in areas such as community policing, diversity and inclusion, economic crime and cyber-crime, health and wellbeing, and the ongoing policing-reform programme.
Collins said that “urgency” was needed in the development of the force’s organisational capacity, in areas that were “vital” to the quality of the policing service.
The report also pointed to the lack of “a sufficient culture of learning, critical appraisal and reflection on performance” within AGS.
The Policing Authority report was published as a new garda uniform (pictured) became operational.