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Commission on the Future of Policing Ireland - Speech by Commissioner Harris on the 18/12/18

Human Rights are the foundation of Policing. For An Garda Síochána Human Rights will be the foundation on which we build and deliver a policing service with the continuing support of the Community.

Ours is very much a Community based Policing Service and this style of policing will continue and as the Commission’s recommendations unfold we will be working with other statutory agencies particularly to address the harm that some of our citizens suffer.

Daily Gardaí encounter those who are vulnerable through mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction all of whom are disproportionately impacted by crime.  We want to do our best as statutory agencies to break destruction cycles of behaviour that can have a devastating impact on individual citizens, their families and communities. Innovative and closer working relationships with partner agencies can make a real practical difference in respect of accessing appropriate care at all times of the day and night. 

Next year we will pilot and evaluate our new Local Policing Model with a view to implementation in late 2019.

With this new structure, we aim to place operational autonomy and accountability at the Chief Superintendent level; this is with the intention of improved responsiveness to local policing issues and improved delivery of Community Policing.

We will give the workforce of An Garda Síochána the tools they need. We will support the workforce through the introduction of IT including: -

        Call management

        Investigation management

        Access to mobile digital technology

Other developments will include:-

        Improved learning and development for staff;

        Roster reform

Continuing workforce modernisation

        Concentration on policing duties

        And, reform of discipline regulations.

I am also conscious of the burden and strain on the workforce and this will be further addressed through a wellness strategy.

I want to change behaviours in An Garda Síochána to one where we are a learning organization, less hierarchical in our approach, with fast time innovative decisions taken at the appropriate level.

But in the end all of this reform is not activity or change for its own sake.

Rather our principal purpose is to protect and serve this society.

As we approach the challenges of reform we in An Garda Síochána must retain our focus that these changes are in order, that we are better placed to combat the threats facing our society, are better placed to prevent and detect crime, better placed to protect those who are vulnerable, and better placed to protect road users and deliver Community Policing with the support of communities right across Ireland. 

It is an immense privilege for me to lead An Garda Síochána particularly at a time of great endeavour and reform.  And I know that the men and women, both members and staff, will rise to the challenge of this programme of work with the end state being an improved policing service which is a public good.

A link to the plan is available at www.gov.ie/policereform

Video provided by the Department of Justice and Equality is available here