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Bio

Policing and Security is practiced in a challenging environment. 

 

Interaction is often adversarial and dangerous.  There is a fine line to be drawn between Law Enforcement and Community Service. The Irish policing model is based on “policing by consent” but the velvet glove contains a strong legal grip. Modern liberal thinking often considers the panacea is a softly focused policing service concentrating on community service. Scepticism is often expressed about the exercise of power. Experience has taught a valuable lesson that a balance must be achieved between the soft and the hard approach. The correct emphasis may well change from one environment to the other. It certainly is not a case of “one size fits all”. Whatever approach is adopted must be conducted firmly within a rule of law context.

 

Just occasionally a unique opportunity presents itself to do some real lasting good. I got this opportunity when Operation Lifesaver came along in 1997. The positive impact of this programme has withstood the test of time. I oversaw the Garda National Traffic Policy Bureau (GNTB), yes, a bit of a mouth full but a great initiative.

 

I led the key Garda Operation Lifesaver commencing in 1997. I conducted research with colleagues for about 12 months before the launch. Our operational model was largely based on the Victoria Model in Australia. This was undertaken on my initiative. This model was based on some key characteristics, High Enforcement by the Police, Graphic Road Safety advertising, incisive Academic Research, a robust Legal System and finally an automated offence detection system with computerised back office processes. Good road engineering was also a factor in this equation.  There was strong enforcement of speed and drink driving laws. Victoria had also shown that it had the capacity over time to reduce it road death toll remarkably. This Lifesaver strategy continues to this date and has had a major impact on reducing road deaths and injuries. I have maintained a strong academic and practical connection with Lifesaver since then. This approach was based on strong interagency cooperation and public support.

 

The key technical weapon was the Gatso speed detection van. It had the ability to undertake speed surveys and seat belt surveys and the ability to make automated speed detections in all-weather day and night. There was no way that individual Gardaí using single “shot’ detection devices could match the detection capacity of this equipment.

 

Part of my mission was to spread the garda message at every opportunity. This meant taking the hard questions with the soft ones. I was conscious that our deeds should match our words. Legitimate questions followed a predictable pattern. This was a revenue raising exercise, why could we not anticipate the crash locations and take pre-emptive action? How sure were we that government would resource our effort with personnel and technology? Did we not have more important things to do and why weren’t we chasing criminals? I was happy to take a positive line on most of these questions because we were about saving lives and we needed the publics cooperation. We could not compel drivers to comply if our system of detection was unfair or unclear.

 

The road deaths started in to decrease from a 1997 total of  472  to 141 in 2019. This represented a progressive downward trend over many years which commenced with the Lifesaver initiative.

 

We could not compel drivers to comply if our system of detection was unfair or unclear.

 

I made a written submission and oral presentation to the Public Accounts Committee on June 19th, 2014 on the dynamics of Road Safety Policy. Inter alia I referred to the evaluation of the road safety strategy from 2007 to 2012, which was commissioned by the Government, and I noted that the impact of the strategy equated to preventing circa 686 fatal collisions, 1,300 serious injury collisions and 650 minor collisions. This amounts to a monetary saving for the Exchequer and society of around €1.85 billion. The evaluation was conducted by the RPS Group using financial calculations set out by A&L Goodbody.

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Former Head of the International Liaison and Protection Office of the Garda Síochána I was responsible for the protection of leading Political and Commercial figures, including the protection of the Irish President. Head of Garda National Traffic Policy Bureau, a major contribution to fatality reduction. Other responsibilities and competencies;

I retired from the police service in 2006 and I have been involved in many commercial contracts since then. These contracts include significant police and money laundering training components.

Policing and Security can be rewarding and addictive in equal measures. I found it exceedingly hard to leave a lifetime of service neatly tied with a bow and left behind. 

In recent years I have written many articles and three books in the policing and security space.

Two things I learned as a serving police officer, one should never do anything to make a guilty person innocent or an innocent person guilty. 

I have also learned the past is rarely over and indeed my latest book "The Great Deception" makes that point very plainly.

Of course life is not always so serious nothing that a bad game of golf can't help. 

I remember or try to remember that no ones perfect, least of all me,  and one should use some human kindness as a first response to challenges.

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