Minister to bring in new legislation governing GSOC

The Minister for Justice has said he will bring in new legislation governing the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in the next few months.

Charlie Flanagan was speaking this evening at the Association of Garda Superintendents conference where senior officers called for the practice of gardaí investigating gardaí to cease.

The Minister said it was important GSOC be independent and he was working towards that.

Earlier the conference heard that almost 20% of all garda superintendents are currently under investigation by GSOC.

The AGS says that, in some cases, these investigations can last up to five years, which it feels is unacceptable.

Association President Superintendent Noel Cunningham said most of these investigations involved examinations of their role as supervisors and managers.

He called for GSOC to be properly resourced to carry out such investigations and for a proper legal structure to be put in place for those under investigation.

Supt Cunningham said 30 of the AGS’s 166 members are under investigation.

No senior garda officer has ever been charged or convicted of a criminal offence following a GSOC investigation.

Earlier, the association warned that Brexit would necessitate a significant increase in the number of gardaí assigned to the border.

The association said that with four times as many roads now open along the border compared to 20 years ago, policing was reduced and “crime corridors” have created new policing challenges.

Supt Cunningham is expected to tell the AGS annual conference today that while cooperation with the PSNI is excellent, Brexit will create the need for a significant increase in gardaí along border counties.

He said garda numbers during the Troubles were at least three times the current figure, and that to restore that number from existing resources, would mean denuding the big urban centres and other divisions of gardaí.

Supt Cunningham said it is vital that early planning and resourcing takes place to ensure the force is prepared for policing after Brexit.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Supt Cunningham said Brexit will have implications for “all the specialist units.

“It’ll have implications for all the intelligence gathering units. It’ll have implications right down across the country.”

“We don’t want to be in the situation, where all of a sudden people have to be drawn, resources have to be drawn, from places where they are already needed, up to the border to address an issue there.

“A bit of strategic planning, pre-thinking, pre-planning will make sure that the proper resources are in the proper places.”

Policing post-Brexit, pay anomalies and investigating complaints for GSOC are the issues set to dominate the conference in Kildare.

Supt Cunningham said current pay rates were a disincentive to officers seeking promotion as, in some cases, garda inspectors are paid more than superintendents.

Superintendents say they are also concerned by the amount of their time taken up by investigating GSOC complaints, which also means the public does not get the independence it expects from those investigations.

RTE news article


Serving member of An Garda Siochana. Admin of ESF and grumpy old fart

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