A new hi-tech system is being deployed throughout Cork City and county which will pinpoint the exact position of individual gardaí and their patrol cars, enabling a quicker response to emergencies.
The control room at Anglesea St Garda Station has been equipped with ADPLS (Automated Data Personnel Locating System).
Two large screens have been installed in the control room which are linked to a computer system and show the exact position of Garda resources. One screen focuses on the city and the other on the county.
Up to recently, the control room in Anglesea St only dealt with 999 calls from the city and suburbs.
However, it is now taking all such calls from the Cork North Garda Division which covers North and East Cork.
It is planned, probably within the next month, to have all calls from the Cork West Garda Division processed through the city station as well.
Chief Superintendent Michael Finn, who is in charge of policing the city, said the ADPLS would improve efficiencies and also afforded protection to gardaí in the event they were injured in an accident or were victims of an assault.
“Even if they can’t speak we will know where they are,” he said.
The senior garda said the new computer system would enable personnel in the control room to constantly monitor garda responses to incidents from the time a 999 call is received to the time it is dealt with.
Chief Supt Finn said gardaí manning the control room would be able to send the nearest patrols to an incident, which would provide a better service to the public.
“If a problem arises in a particular area [re response times] the system will help us adjust and ensure our responses are better,” he said.
Anglesea St Garda Station handles 300,000 calls every year. More than 100 calls received there every day are emergency calls and are handled by the control room.
The Cork North Garda Division control room, which was based in Fermoy, used to handle, on average, around 20 emergency calls daily.
Gardaí based in the West Cork control room at Bandon Garda Station receive an average of ten 999 calls per day.
Chief Supt Finn said he understood recent concerns expressed by the Garda Representative Association that there would be an extra workload placed on staff in the Anglesea St Garda Station control room as a result of the centralisation move.
He plans to allocate extra garda staff to help out and, for the first time, a civilian worker employed by the force is being used to answer calls at the station’s main switchboard — which will also free up gardaí for other duties.
The average number of 999 calls to the city control room rises to between 15 and 18 on Friday and Saturday nights, primarily due to more revellers being on the streets.
Extra resources will in particular be put into the control room on those nights.
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