The Republic of Ireland Police Force: An Overview


Slides 2 to 3

  • The Irish Police Force is better known as the An Garda Siochana
  • Was called the Peace Preservation Force in 1816, this was sponsored by Robert Peel
  • Changed to County Constabulary in 1882, was a 'uniformed police force formed on a regional basis'
  • After this, it was changed to the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force in 1836
  • Change to slide 3
  • In 1921, the Royal Irish Constabulary was disbanded and replaced with the Civil Guard or Garda Siochana
  • This was formed by Michael Collins and the Irish Government 
  • In the 1920s, there were a lot of attacks on the Royal Irish Constabulary because they were believed to be 'agents of a foreign power' as they were appointed when Ireland was under British rule. This caused widespread resignations from the Royal Irish Constabulary
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Slides 4 to 5

  • Change to Slide 4
  • The Civil Guard of the Republic of Ireland has five main aims:
    • The detection and prevention of crime
    • Ensuring their nation's safety
    • Reducing the incidence of fatal and serious injuries on their roads and improving road safety
    • Working with communities to prevent anti-social behaviour
    • Promoting an inter-agency approach to problem solving and improving the overall quality of life 
  • Moving onto the structure, there is a Commissioner who is responsible for the directionmanagement and control over the Civil Guard
    • The current Commissioner has been in the role since 3rd September 2018 and is named Drew Harris
  • There is also a Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform who is responsible for the performance of the Civil Guard Change to Slide 5
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Slides 6 to 7

  • There are six regions within the Civil Guard
    • Dublin Metropolitan Guard; Northern Region; Western Region; Eastern Region; Southern Region; South Eastern Region
  • As you can see from the map there are several areas within the regions
  • Each region is divided into Divisions. These are commanded by a Chief Superintendent
  • Divisions are split into districts, which are commanded by a Superintendent or District Officer
  • Districts are further sub-categorised into Sub-Districts which are the responsibility of a Sergeant
  • Sub-districts 'only have one station, the strength of which may vary from 3 to 100 officers'
  • Change to slide 7
  • As written on their website, the primary mission of the Civil Guard is to 'deliver professional policing and security services with the trust, confidence and support of the people they serve'
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Slides 8 to 9

  • They also strive to use three Policing Principles meaning policing services must be provided:
    • Independent and impartially
    • In a manner that respects human rights
    • In a manner that supports the proper and effective administration of justice'
    In order to achieve their goals using the Policing Principles, the Code of Ethics was established in December 2016 by the Policing Authority.
  • It was launched in January 2017 by Commissioner O' Sullivan, who was the Minister for Justice and Equality, as well as being the Chairperson of the Authority
  • It has nine ethical standards and ethical commitments which must be made in order to meet these standards
  • The main aim of the Code of Ethics is that everyone treats each other within the force 'the way they would expect to be treated themselves'
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Slide 9

  • As you can see from the copy of the Code of Ethics on the right, there are various rules to be followed:
    • Duty to uphold the law; Honesty and Integrity; Respect and Equality; Authority and Responsibility; Police Powers; Information and Privacy; Transparency and Communication; Speaking up and Reporting Wrongdoing; and Leadership
  • It has been signed by the Gardia Senior Leadership Team
  • These are some of the headlines I found when researching the reputation of the Civil Guard
  • They range from 2014 to 2017 and discuss the confidence that people have in the force
  • Fintan O' Toole said that the Civil Guard 'may be naturally sound but it has been slowly putrefying
  • After this he discusses the case of Clare Daly. She was a politcian who had publicly criticised the Guard, and was wrongfully suspected of drink-driving
  • According to O' Toole, 'details of her arrest were accessed by 24 different gardai and one used the information to send her abusive tweets. They can all be identified by the Pulse System but so far no action has been taken against them'
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Slide 9 continued

  • This abuse of information is one of the reasons why people are losing confidence in the Civil Guard
  • The second article which appears on the Retired Members Association Website for the Civil Guard. It discusses the retirement of Commissioner O'Sullivan and how his departure requires a re-development of the whole system. 
  • According to Gensec, 'the organisatoin is badly off track and has been for a long time
  • He also said that 'fixing a flawed culture requires much more than the removal of the figure at the top. What is needed is to involve as many layers within an organisation as possible within the change mission'
  • The third article is a poll discussing people's confidence in the Civil Guard. This was written in 2014 and asks 'do you have confidence in the Civil Guard?' 65% of people said no
  • The article said that according to the latest Irish Times poll of the time, 74% of people believed the reputation of the Civil Guard had been damaged by recent controversies, and 1/3 of people said they don't trust the force
  • Change to Slide 10
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Last bit

  • The final indication that there is a definite issue with the reputation of the Civil Guard is this comment found on the poll article
  • 'The Gardai are bringing a revolt against themselves by their misadventures, their criminal acts, their coverups, their ruthless disregard for law, order and their oath. The people are very aware that guardians of the peace work to an agenda politically and are in the pockets of the rich'
  • This sums up what the general public's frustrations were with the police force and this is the final thought I would like to leave you with as we reach the end of this presentation. 
  • I hope it has been efficient in providing an overview of the Civil Guard, and thank you for you time
  • The references for this presentation can be found on the next slide
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