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Gardai lack technology to fight terror
#1
A system which would help gardai to respond to a major terrorism incident has not been switched on, the Garda Inspectorate has revealed.
Mark Toland, the deputy chief inspector, told The Times that technology installed in garda cars to map their location was not being used. A similar system has been deployed by the British police for more than thirty years.

Mr Toland made his comments after the inspectorate, which is responsible for the accountability of An Garda Siochana, this week released a hard-hitting report identifying major failings in the national police.

“We canâ€t understand why that [technology] hasnâ€t been switched on. You would be able to see where all your officers are and make a decision to deploy appropriate resources to a scene,” Mr Toland, formerly of the Metropolitan police in London, said.

“It could be useful in a terrorist attack because you would need to know exactly where to send officers.”
Mr Toland said that in south Wales the same technology had resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in police car collisions. In another force in Britain, it reduced operating costs by a fifth.

“If one of my police officers was in a dangerous situation [in the UK], they were able to press an emergency button on their car radio and get an immediate response. They are trying to pilot the system in Ireland at the moment, but weâ€re saying itâ€s hugely important and it should be switched on,” he said.

Mr Toland said that the Irish police force was still lacking standard equipment in other areas.
“They donâ€t have sat-navs in garda cars. Thatâ€s something we have had in the UK for about 10 or 15 years,” Mr Toland said.

“[The gardai] have very tired technology and they struggle to do things like send pictures. Really, in a country where youâ€re bringing in people like Microsoft, in the times of the Celtic Tiger that would have been the ideal time to upgrade the police force with technology that is fit for purpose.”

The inspectorateâ€s report said that the gardai lacked basic databases and still recorded a large amount of information on paper, including 999 calls in some parts of the country.

“There is no human resources database. There is no way of searching for officers with particular skills, like languages,” Mr Toland said. “To find out how many gardai spoke Arabic, you would have to phone around every single station in the country and ask.”

Irelandâ€s national security committee held an emergency meeting after last monthâ€s attacks in Paris. Frances Fitzgerald, the justice minister, said that the committeeâ€s assessment was that an attack on Irish soil was “possible” but unlikely.

Ms Fitzgerald last week told the Dail that Ireland could not consider itself immune from the threat of international terrorism and that she had secured a “significant” investment in garda technology resources.

The gardai also double as Irelandâ€s national security force. Simon Coveney, the defence minister, said earlier this year that the defence forces†elite unit would need to expand by 50 per cent to cope with the greater threat of terrorism.

Mr Coveney said, however, that increasing the Army Ranger Wing, Irelandâ€s special defence army unit, from 10 members to 15 would be difficult because of the gruelling nature of the mental and physical entrance exam.
Ireland has no cybercrime unit and has relied on the FBI to investigate individuals living in Ireland who are alleged to have carried out serious online crimes. The Department of Defence said that several multinational companies based in Ireland had significant IT and software requirements and that a serious cyberbreach would have economic repercussions.

The Garda Inspectorateâ€s report said that serious cybercrimes were not being properly investigated, owing to a lack of gardai resources.
Niall Collins, Fianna Failâ€s justice spokesman, said that the gardai needed communication systems that responded to terror threats “as quickly as possible”.

“The gardai need to have the best technology available to them to be in a position to react to major incidents in the shortest possible time. I would urge the government to invest in this technology,” Mr Collins said.
“Cybercrime is a growing problem internationally and there is an urgent need to ensure the authorities here in Ireland are adequately equipped to deal with this threat.”

A spokeswoman for the gardai said: “An Garda Siochana is studying the Garda Inspectorate report closely. The report will inform our renewal programme, Policing and Security with TRUST, which will be published in the new year. As requested by the justice minister, An Garda Siochana will provide our observations on the report.”

The Department of Defence declined to comment and said that it was a matter for the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice said that it was a matter for the gardai.

Irishtimes.ie


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pogan,proud to be a member of ESF since Jul 2010
Supervisor of Crime Prevention Section of Emergency Services Forum
Contact me by mail at pogan@esforum.org
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#2
That system is switched on. Has been for at least a year.
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#3
Sure a few sat navs aren't gonna help fight terrorism. It's all well and good knowing where the cars are but sure it's unarmed mules with high vis jackets in em, not special counter terrorism units.
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#4
(12-12-2015, 12:00 AM)foreign Wrote: That system is switched on. Has been for at least a year.
It went live at different times in different places. Ours only went live maybe 3 months ago.
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#5
There are issues with the company regarding it. Don't know what
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#6
its also mapped with OSI maps, so in my division you could only tell what street a car is on in three towns, the rest all you can say is its in the town. we have the system installed but no one has ever been shown how to work it or told what the policy is for it
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#7
was in NEOC yesterday and was shown their Man Down System looks very good and their maps are fairly updated right down to different cabins on a halting site in Galway :P
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