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Garda Inspectorate launches human rights probe of stations
Deputy chief inspector Pauline Shields and chief inspector Mark Toland Pic: RollingNews.ie

29 Aug 2019 / policing Print

Inspectorate launches garda human rights probe

The Garda Inspectorate is to examine all aspects of garda custody with a particular focus on human rights.

It will probe how the rights of those in custody are protected, the dignity and respect shown, and the suitability and condition of facilities. There will be a particular focus on vulnerable children and adults.


It will also examine the use of policing powers, the roles and responsibilities of gardaí involved in the management and delivery of custody services and the training provided to them.

Chief Inspector Mark Toland said this morning “This independent review will examine the standard of treatment, safety and well-being provided to persons in the custody of the Garda Síochána. 

“It will adopt a rights-based approach, with particular consideration given to the arrangements for children and adults who are vulnerable”. 


Deputy Chief Inspector Pauline Shields will lead the inspection.

The Garda Inspectorate is an independent body established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to ensure the resources available to An Garda Síochána are used to achieve and maintain the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

The Garda Inspectorate work plan for 2019-2021 will focus on the following:

  • Public order practices in An Garda Síochána,
  • Countering the risk of corruption,
  • Custody arrangements,
  • AGS response to the policing of Ireland’s borders,
  • Response to reports of domestic abuse,
  • The administration and execution of arrest warrants,
  • Management of bail cases.

The Inspectorate has said it will examine the provision of healthcare, legal advice, interpreters, the use of appropriate adults and the notification of arrest and detention to a third party, in custody cases.

Also, on the radar are the dignity and respect shown to persons in custody and how their diverse needs are met, including basic requirements such as food, clothing, hygiene and sanitary requirements, rest periods and the attention to their general safety and wellbeing.


Garda powers, including the power to take fingerprints, photographs and samples such as DNA, search a person, seize property, use force and authorise extension of periods of detention, will also be examined.

The suitability and condition of custody facilities, including cells, toilet and washing facilities, facilities for medical examinations and legal consultations, as well as the availability of suitable interview rooms, will also be examined.

Adherence to current Irish legislation and regulations will also be reviewed including the European Convention on Human Rights Act and the public sector equality and human rights duty.

Best standards

The inspection will consider the best standards of custody arrangements in comparable police services and the extent to which relevant previous recommendations, have been implemented.

The Garda Inspectorate will deliver a report on its findings with recommendations for any action that it considers necessary.

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