Bureaucracy level ‘too high’ for superintendents

THE head of the Garda Inspectorate yesterday said superintendents had an “unacceptable” amount of bureaucracy to deal with.

She also said greater garda visibility in the community was needed, and that this should be a “priority” for the force.

Addressing the annual conference of the Association of Garda Superintendents (AGS), chief inspector Kathleen O’Toole said she was taken aback when she realised the amount of bureaucracy that had to be dealt with.

“Superintendents have an enormous workload. I was amazed at all the things superintendents have to do.”

She said the level of bureaucracy was “unbelievable” and the situation “needs to change”.

Ms O’Toole said: “I really feel that this will definitely be the focus of our attention. They have to have a sensible workload and have to have the autonomy and resources to get the work done.”

She said she was surprised the emphasis seemed to be on the specialist garda units.

She said there was no doubt that these units were very successful, but said the ordinary garda divisions seemed to be somewhat sidelined, and this was a concern.

She said “uniformed patrols need to be a priority” in the force.

AGS president Tom Neville said superintendents had an ever-increasing workload.

“With all the new legislation, it’s incumbent on superintendents to enforce the legislation and tell their people, and it always brings more work on the superintendent.”

He called on Justice Minister Michael McDowell, who attended the conference last night, to increase the superintendent retirement age from 60 to 63.

He said it was time to “speak out clearly” about the matter and said it needed to be addressed “sooner rather than later”.

He also welcomed the “civilianisation” of the force and the additional expertise civilians would bring, and said this would release gardaí to perform core policing functions.

He called for computer technology — such as crime mapping — to be used to help track crime trends in certain areas, which would benefit not only the gardaí but also the local community.

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