Perhaps the Moment of Truth for the Harris Garda Policing Model
Updated: Jan 11
Very Important question being asked by the Joint Policing Committee in Donegal in advance of visit from the Garda Commissioner. #garda. @DonegalLive
Legitimate concerns regarding the Policing Model being rolled out across the country and in this instance Donegal.
The classic overreach involved can be exemplified by the fact that the New Super
Region – North Western Region, extends from the tip of the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal south to the county boundary of Galway and Clare/Tipperary. It extends from the Mayo/Galway coast line all the way to the tip of the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth on the Irish Sea. It covers the entire length of the border with Northern Ireland. The Regional Commissioner is based in Galway on the one extremity of the Region. I cannot find organisational coherence in this configuration. The same observation can be made concerning the other New Super Regions, Southern and Eastern which suffer from the same overreach.
My professional view is that these changes are a massive disrupter of the AGS service. I have written long and hard on the topic but eventually I have taken the view that any proponent of the system should be able to answer some simple questions.
Will this system ensure that Gardaí will come to my assistance more quickly?
Will there be more Gardaí in my town, parish or county?
How will senior officers manage their increased span of control?
What are the budget implications of this system?
Where is this system in operation internationally.?
What was the result of your pilot projects?
What are the implications for falling garda numbers?
What are the Cost Benefits in Human and Financial terms
In other words it should be possible to demonstrate the advantages in a clear and precise manner.
Among the issues that will be on the agenda when Garda Commissioner Drew Harris visits the county later this month will be garda numbers, policing the border area, lack of adequate resources, the armed response unit and the garda call centre plan.
The Commissioner is coming to the county on the invitation of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC). The Chairperson of the JPC Gerry McMonagle says he is concerned about the plans to have calls to local garda stations directed to a centralised system in Galway. Cllr. Mc Monagle says the system may present a number of difficulties for the region among which he said would be local knowledge of local areas, availability of resources and the erosion of the connectivity people share on a call with local gardaí.
Mr McMonagle JPC said that people will not feel duty bound to tell a call centre in Galway about a suspicious van in the area or other such activity whereas they would mention it to their local garda: “I am concerned about it. The jury is out on this one.”
He said the model may work well in a city but foresees difficulties in rural Donegal: “Donegal is one of the areas selected for the pilot scheme … you couldn’t have picked a worse place. This might be alright when you are sitting in the heart of Dublin with a map of Dublin in front of you … you can react quite quickly but it isn’t the same in Donegal.
“It is urban-centric - it is based on a failed model in Britain. It does not take in the geographic spread of rural Ireland, that is my opinion of it.”