Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Justice and Equality
The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion and this is due to increase further to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020. The capital budget for An Garda Síochána has also been significantly increased - a total of €92 million was provided this year, representing a 50% increase on capital investment in 2018. And capital investment will increase further to €116.5 million in 2020.
The capital investment being made in Garda ICT infrastructure is particularly significant and amounts to €342 million between 2016 and 2021. It is important to note that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána. The allocation and efficient use of Garda resources is also a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands.
An Garda Síochána has confirmed that ICT is an essential tool for supporting the day-to-day operations of the entire Garda workforce, currently including over 14,300 Garda members, over 2,900 Garda staff as well as Garda Reserves.
The Programme for a Partnership Government recognises that Gardaí must have the modern technology and resources necessary to detect and investigate crimes, and to prevent loss and harm to citizens and their property on a 24/7 basis. The key importance of technology was also clearly identified in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
In line with the implementation plan for that report, "A Policing Service for the Future", a new Garda Digital Strategy has been prepared. That Strategy "Connect" sets out a series of initiatives which will enable An Garda Síochána deploy the latest cutting edge technologies to better serve our communities and to assist in crime prevention and detection.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the modernisation of PULSE is an ongoing programme of work. A range of projects are being pursued in that regard. I am informed that some of the key ICT projects which are currently being advanced under the Garda Digital Strategy Connectare as follows:
- A new Property & Exhibits Management has been deployed and is being used to record all property and exhibits which come into Garda possession and to manage them throughout their lifecycle within the organisation from scene to court.
- A new Enterprise Content Management System has been introduced which provides An Garda Síochána with a single enterprise content repository for all documentation and certain multimedia content. A pilot of this system has been completed and rollout to all Divisions will be completed in early 2020.
- PULSE has been updated to include Individual Victim Assessment and Victim Engagement screens, to record information about the victim themselves and any Garda interaction or engagement with the victim. PULSE has also been enhanced with new incident management functionality which will enable Garda supervisors monitor the progress of incidents from initial data input right through to court outcome stage. This is an interim step pending the implementation of the new Crime Investigations Management System.
- A new Crime Investigations Management System will allow for the management of activities completed as part of an investigation, maintain a full history of the chain of events in an investigation, manage information gathered, and decisions/actions taken. It will also integrate closely with the new Document and Content Management System, the new Property and Exhibits Management System, and other Garda IT systems.
- A new e-Vetting system is operational which provides online processing of applications for Garda vetting for persons working with children and vulnerable persons. This system won the national eGovernment Award for 2017
- A new Anti-Money Laundering application (GoAML) which supports Financial Intelligence Units to counter Organised Crime and Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering was implemented in June 2017
- A new Intelligence Management System has been deployed and is operational to provide a single secure repository of sensitive intelligence gathered by operational members
- A Rosters and Duty Management System is currently being deployed on a phased basis across An Garda Síochána.
Further and as the Deputy is aware, the Mobility project is ongoing and involves the provision of modern technical facilities to permit Garda members to access PULSE-held data using smartphones. I am informed that the roll-out of such mobile access will expand in 2020 and beyond.
In addition, I understand that work to facilitate collaboration and integration with external agencies including as part of the Criminal Justice Hub initiative is also underway.