Harris promises faster investigation of crimes and more frontline gardaí

Harris promises faster investigation of crimes and more frontline gardaí
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris says crimes will be investigated quicker and there will be more gardaí on the frontline in an overhaul of divisions and roles in the force.

A widening of specialist services will help speed up police work, amid rising reports of sexual attacks, increasingly complex financial frauds, and cybercrime.

That is according to the head of the force, who will defend and outline the benefits of his reorganisation of the gardaí and new division plans when he appears at the Oireachtas Justice Committee tomorrow.

“Not only will these Divisions have more gardaí to deploy in communities, particularly in community policing, but they will be able to provide a wider range of policing services locally.

“At a time when the reporting of sexual and domestic violence is rising, when many crimes have a digital element, and when financial frauds are increasingly complex, it is not sustainable to rely solely on our national units to investigate all such crimes.

“Our new operating model will enhance the investigation of crime through the delivery of a greater range of specialised services in local areas such as the investigation of sexual crime, domestic violence, cybercrime, and economic crime,” Mr Harris will tell committee TDs and Senators.

Mr Harris will also reassure concerned politicians that top gardaí in the force will not be moved to new regional HQs in divisions, when changes are introduced.

Superintendents will not be pulled into those headquarters but instead stay in key locations.

Investigations under planned changes will also be carried out at a faster pace, TDs will be told.

Mr Harris will say: “This widening of specialist services at a local level will be supported by the introduction of an Investigation Management System, which will make it easier for those supervising investigations to oversee their progress.

This will have a number of benefits for victims. In general, it should see their crime investigated quicker and, particularly in the case of specialist crimes, by investigators well trained in that area.

Mr Harris will in particular stress that national units can't be just relied upon to investigate crimes and that is why specialist gardaí will be used in cases more.

And while there are widening concerns around the Garda budget, he will set out benefits for members in the months ahead.

These will include the roll-out of mobile phones for frontline officers, particularly those working in roads policing, and the start of the procurement for a new Garda uniform as well as further training including eLearning.

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