New garda unit to boost professional standards

A NEW unit is to be set up within the gardaí to boost professional standards in the force.

The Garda Professional Standards Unit will be tasked with ensuring that the force meets the highest standards in terms of ethical and human rights.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell announced the establishment of the unit yesterday and said it was one of a number of new bodies being set up to reform the force.

The reforms are detailed in the Garda Síochána Act 2005, which was passed into law early last summer.

The Garda Síochána has been rocked by successive controversies, exposing individual garda misbehaviour, poor overall management and inadequate external supervision.

Mr McDowell said the unit would produce “reliable, verifiable and non-anecdotal evidence” of garda standards and performance.

The unit will have a staff of 20, consisting of relevantly-qualified and experienced garda and civilian staff.

Nine additional gardaí, consisting of one chief superintendent, two superintendents, two inspectors and four sergeants have been sanctioned by Government.

The minister said the unit would complement the Garda Inspectorate, which would shortly be established under the Garda Act.

The Inspectorate will operate independently of An Garda Síochána and will report directly to the minister.

The Inspectorate is supposed to ensure that the resources available to An Garda Síochána are used to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

A recruitment process is under way for the selection of a chief inspector for the Garda Inspectorate.

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