Garda Policing Plan: Don’t put off essential reform

THE Garda Policing Plan 2018 has much to recommend it, including an initiative to deal with domestic violence in a more coherent way, a policy to recruit from minority groups, new measures to deal with cyber crime and the formation of a special team to deal with the fallout from Brexit.

Among the initiatives in the plan is the updating by next June of the much-maligned Garda Pulse system to support the recording of domestic violence, a commonplace feature of many other police forces, including the PSNI in Northern Ireland.

Women’s Aid has welcomed measures in the plan aimed at addressing problems in the recording and investigation of violence in the home. Under the plan, gardaí will make technical changes to allow crimes associated with domestic violence — from criminal damage to assault — to be tagged domestic abuse.

For the first time, there is to be a definition of hate crime, with minority groups encouraged to report it and also a performance evaluation for all members of the force.

It looks good on paper but will it be put into practice?

Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin has conceded that it will take a “considerable time” to put in place many of the structural and cultural changes.

Let us hope that does not turn into an excuse for putting essential reforms on the long finger.

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