The Garda Commissioner says staff levels need to be increased to meet growing demands


Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said his organization needs more members and support staff to meet the growing demands.

n Garda Síochána continues to expand its workforce to 15,000 Gardaí and 4,000 auxiliaries, but at the launch of the new Garda uniforms this morning, Commissioner Harris said the current targets, set in 2016, need to be increased.

“The demands on An Garda Siochána continue to grow, our population continues to grow, but so does the variety of problems we deal with,” he said.

“Not only anti-social behavior, but also crimes committed through cybercrime, fraud and international crime where we are involved in investigating organized criminal groups, as well as ongoing threats to the security of the state.

“So I would say that in terms of our overall resources, there is an argument as to whether the numbers set about five to six years ago will be enough for this decade and the later part of this decade, and I don’t think that will be the case . I think we will need more than 15,000 sworn members and more than 4,000 Garda staff.”

His comments come as a new police department report said a three-year backlog in investigating digital devices, including images of child abuse, was a “critical weakness” for Gardai.

The Police Department has warned that their “ongoing concern” is the continued backlog of electronic devices after items have been confiscated.

This has implications for the timing of investigations, the potential identification of victims, and the victims’ journey through the criminal justice system.

In its latest report, it warned that the backlog could have a “significant impact” on investigations and individual victims and suspects.

“The increasing number of confiscated devices is a challenge for the Garda Siochana as well as for police services worldwide,” she added.

“Despite reported productivity gains in device triage and analysis, the backlog remains.

“The demands on the modern police force are such that it is unlikely that the challenges related to cybercrime and cybercrime, including child sexual exploitation, will diminish.”

Gardai set a goal in 2019 to reduce waiting times to under 12 months, but have struggled to reduce the times.

The agency said significant and immediate action was needed to meet police demands.

“Resource sourcing in this case, as is happening across the organization, may best be the assignment of specialized Garda personnel,” the report added.

The report also said that Garda HQ’s goals for fighting organized and serious crime are split between targeted and vulnerable.

“Considerable gains” continued to be made in responding to and dismantling organized crime groups (OCGs).

“In particular, there is continued success in countering OCGs involved in drug trafficking, with sustained, positive mid-term trends in drug, cash and firearm seizures and reductions in fatality incidents,” she added.

It said there had been no threat to life in the first half of 2022, which it called an “extraordinary indicator of success” after the impact the Garda community has had in recent years.

“This is a notable achievement for the Garda Síochána given the scale of the organized crime problems the organization has faced in the recent past,” the report said.

“In particular, working with international partners to respond to the activities of the Kinahan OCG, as well as disrupting the activities of other OCGs in collaboration with the UK, EU and other partners, represents a landmark achievement.

“The ongoing challenge for Garda Siochana as a broader organization is to increasingly reconcile these achievements with tangible impacts at the community level and to increase the protection of the community, particularly young people, from crime, exploitation and intimidation.

“Beyond drug and drug-related crime, responding to organized and serious crime remains a challenge for the Garda Siochana, particularly in relation to white-collar and cybercrime, the prevalence of which continues to increase significantly.

“These matters are mostly related to procurement.”

It warned that the scale of white-collar crime growth has placed demands on the armed forces that cannot be met with the resources currently allocated.

“These are not new topics. Both resource inadequacies and crime trends are long-term issues that precede recent growth in white-collar and cybercrime,” the agency added.

“A medium-term resource plan for white-collar crime, as called for in the Hamilton Review’s implementation plan on white-collar crime and corruption, is pending and is now a year overdue.”

Police Department Chairman Bob Collins said Commissioner Harris’ comments were “completely correct”.

Mr Collins said the agency had identified an “urgent need for major capital investment” to address issues highlighted in the report, such as: B. the three-year backlog in the testing of digital devices.

He told RTÉ News at One The current recruitment targets “constrain and limit the Commissioner’s ability to allocate resources as he wishes”.

Referring to the Gardai’s belated review of the controversy of the police department canceling 999 calls, Mr Collins confirmed that a “very preliminary report” was presented by lead investigator Derek Penman at a meeting last month.

“The indications are that there is some level of satisfaction with what has been achieved so far.

“I don’t want to prejudge what Derek Penman says in the final report that we will consider at the September public meeting, but I’m optimistic,” he added.

The agency is examining how the Gardai assess the factors that contributed to the cancellation of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) 999 calls to ensure there is “adequate service and trust” in the CAD 999 system.

More than 200,000 911 calls were canceled, meaning some of the victims didn’t get the help they asked for.

Additional coverage from PA Media. The Garda Commissioner says staff levels need to be increased to meet growing demands

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