The hiring of civilians to release gardaí to the frontline will have to be enforced “persistently and voraciously” to meet targets, the Policing Authority has said.
The warning from the chair of the authority, Josephine Feehily, is contained in a progress report sent to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on January 31 — but was only published on the Department of Justice website yesterday evening.
Her report states that, “despite numerous requests” during 2016, Garda management had failed to provide the authority by year’s end with estimates on the number of posts that could be civilianised.
The report said that figures were eventually provided on January 24, which indicated that 147 gardaí would be redeployed to the frontline with the recruitment of 500 civilian staff during 2017.
The Policing Authority is overseeing implementation by Garda management of recommendations in the Garda Inspectorate’s Changing Policing in Ireland report, published in November 2015.
Following the report, the Government instructed Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to adopt a “civilian by default” policy for all new recruits to the force in order to allow 1,500 gardaí currently tasked with desk duties — as identified by the inspectorate — to return to operational policing over a five-year period.
It will also enable gardaí to achieve the Government’s target that civilian staff will constitute 20% of the force by 2021.
Report available on justice.ie
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