4 April 2017
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has received Government approval to begin the process to establish a Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
Government also reaffirmed the need for the extensive reform programme already underway within An Garda Síochána to continue, and to ensure the work of the oversight bodies is not impeded by the establishment of a Commission.
The Tánaiste considers that any Terms of Reference should be wide-ranging and allow for an examination of all aspects of policing. Among the issues that she considers should be addressed are the:
· structures and management arrangements required for the most effective delivery of policing, including all functions currently carried out by An Garda Síochána – community safety, security and immigration
· appropriate composition, recruitment and training of personnel,
· culture and ethos of policing,
· appropriate structures for oversight and accountability, and
· the legislative framework for policing.
The Tánaiste also considers that any draft Terms of Reference should take account of:
· existing and emerging issues identified as key challenges for Ireland’s model of policing,
· best practices in the policing models of other countries focused towards greater effectiveness and efficiency, and fostering public confidence in policing,
· previous reports concerning policing in Ireland.
· any specific challenges to delivering consistent structural and cultural reform in policing.
Drafting of the Terms of Reference will involve consultation with opposition parties and relevant statutory bodies including the Policing Authority, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman and the Garda Inspectorate.
Once this consultation process has been completed, the Tánaiste will return to Government with proposals for the establishment of the Commission and draft terms of reference.
Fixed Charge Notices and Mandatory Alcohol Tests
The Tánaiste informed that Government that she has formally requested the Policing Authority in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to report on these matters and examine all arising issues.
The Authority will conduct an examination to identify how and why the issues have arisen, the incidence and scale of the issues, and the solutions implemented to ensure that there is no recurrence. It is expected that it will engage outside expertise to carry out this work.