Garda Commissioner: There will be individual accountability for cancelled 999 calls

Garda Commissioner: There will be individual accountability for cancelled 999 calls

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris stressed that calls were answered, but the follow-up to those calls was where the problem lay. Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said there will be individual accountability for those responsible for the cancelled 999 calls controversy.

He said he wants to reassure people that disciplinary procedures will be set in place where appropriate and that he himself has been held to account by Justice Minister Helen McEntee.

Mr Harris restated his apology to those affected but stressed that calls were answered, but the follow-up to those calls was where the problem lay.

“Well, just to make it clear, all 999 calls were answered, all 999 calls, and were put onto our command control system. The issue was how they were then subsequently dealt with,” he said.

“In our analysis and we found that some calls were recorded but were not properly dealt with,” he added. 

And this was prevalent in respect of domestic abuse in particular, because we have very stringent policies there in respect of making sure we always attend a scene.

He said once his officers discovered this problem, “we entered into very much a victim-centred approach in terms of those calls, which weren't properly dealt with".

“What we didn't do was follow through on our policies,” he said.

On the accountability issue, he dismissed the idea that the force’s response to the controversy will be one of a whitewash.

“There will be discipline investigations. And I don't know what the outcome of those are, they have to follow their process,” he said.

“We're not putting this down to a systems failure. And actually, the report is very clear about the individual actions of gardái as well,” he said.

He said disciplinary invesigations are ongoing.

Ms McEntee said while “mistakes were made” public confidence in the 999 system remains.

She said she awaits a full report on what has been presented to the Policing Authority in relation to the 999 calls.

"It's very clear from the commissioner's response to the policing authority yesterday, mistakes have been made, he particularly apologised and focused on the area of domestic violence, where potentially more people were impacted by this issue,” she said.

“And I think it's clear that we need to learn from this,” she added.

- If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please click here for a list of support services.

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