Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
An Garda Síochána
The Garda Commissioner has introduced the new Garda Operating Model and it is designed to make the Division the central unit of policing administration, rather than the current District model. This is to provide a more comprehensive and inclusive policing service and will help strengthen the focus on Community Policing by An Garda Síochána.
An Garda Síochána has a long tradition of community policing since its establishment almost 100 years ago. That said, the Government is committed to delivering on the report of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) which acknowledges that policing and community safety are not the sole responsibility of the Gardaí but require a whole of Government approach.
As the Deputy will be aware, my Department recently published the General Scheme of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill. This Bill will improve the performance and accountability of our policing and security services, and support the human rights of all people throughout Ireland to be and feel safe in their communities. It will represent the most wide ranging and coherent reform of policing in a generation.
The Bill has four main objectives:
1. Make the prevention of harm and protection of people who are vulnerable or at risk, and the safety of communities, a “whole of government” responsibility,
2. Strengthen and consolidate independent, external oversight of An Garda Síochána,
3. Enhance the internal governance of An Garda Síochána and the role of the Garda Commissioner as CEO, and
4. Improve the independent oversight of our national security infrastructure.
This Bill has been developed on the basis of the recommendations of CoFPI following its fundamental in-depth review and builds on the work of the Policing Authority.
The Commission found that community safety requires a whole of Government approach in partnership with local communities. My Department has been developing a new Community Safety Policy and this new policy will be given a statutory basis in the Bill. To support and inform the policy, three Local Community Safety Partnerships are being piloted in Dublin’s north inner city, Waterford and Longford and will run for the next two years.
The pilots will inform the development of the rollout of Local Community Safety Partnerships in every local authority area as part of the provisions of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill. As the pilots will run for a period of two years, resources will be appropriated through the normal Budgetary process.