Garda Commissioner: Penalty points system 'stronger' since reforms

The Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan says the penalty points system is much stronger since new measures were brought in last June.

Garda Commissioner: Penalty points system 'stronger' since reforms

The Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan says the penalty points system is much stronger since new measures were brought in last June.

Since then, just three senior gardaí are allowed to make a decision to cancel penalty points.

The Justice Minister Francis Fitzgerald this afternoon published a report of the Garda Professional Standards Unit, which examined a sample of 667 files where points were cancelled.

Of these, 114 were singled out for further investigation, and only seven of these refer to the period after June, when new rules were introduced to tighten the system.

Of these seven, one is cancelled under the cancellation reason 'Statutory Exemptions/Emergency Vehicle'.

A second is cancelled under the reason 'Discretionary-Other'. Five are cancelled under the reason 'Undelivered-An Post'.

Of these five, four are being recommended for further investigation internally by Gardaí as the GPSU believe they are procedural issues. It is recommended that the fifth be sent to GSOC to be investigated as it involves a member of An Garda Síochána.

Undelivered-An Post is where penalty points notices are returned undelivered to the Fixed Charge Processing Office resulting in the cancellation of the majority of these notices.

Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said that the reforms are working.

Ms O'Sullivan said: "This new policy centralised decision making in relation to the cancellation of Fixed Charge Notices in the Fixed Charge Processing Office (FCPO). The internal audit examination found this centralisation considerably enhanced the controls over the cancellation system and there was a clear audit trail.

"Furthermore, in August 2014, I requested an examination by the Garda Professional Standards Unit (GPSU) of how the new policies and procedures introduced on June 16th 2014 relating to the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS) were operating.

"In September 2014, a source of information outlined concerns and issues relating to the operation of the FCPS."

She said that person sought the protection of the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014 and agreed to assist in the GPSU examination.

She said: "The examination by the GPSU team is thorough and rigorous, and its report published today is detailed. In conducting its examination, the GPSU has been assisted by the source of information who was met nine times in the course of the investigation. I would like to acknowledge the source of information for raising issues relating to the FCPS system and their input has been valuable."

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