Remit of the Policing Authority

The Policing Authority is an independent agency established to oversee the performance of the Garda Síochána in relation to policing services in Ireland. The Authority was established by the enactment of the Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 which amends the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

The Act provides for an extensive range of functions for the Authority, some of which were previously the responsibility of Government or the Minister for Justice and Equality.

The overarching role of the Authority is to oversee the performance by the Garda Síochána of its functions relating to policing services. The Act provides that in doing so, the Authority shall:

  • Set priorities and performance targets for the Garda Síochána
  • Approve a Strategy Statement and Annual Policing Plan submitted by the Garda Commissioner
  • Keep under review:
    • the performance by the Garda Síochána of its functions
    • the arrangements and strategies in place to support and enhance the performance of those functions
    • the adequacy of:
      1. the corporate governance arrangements and structures within the Garda Síochána
      2. the arrangements for the recruitment, training and development of the members and members of the civilian staff of the Garda Síochána
      3. the mechanisms in place within the Garda Síochána for the measurement of performance and accountability of such members and staff
      4. the arrangements for managing and deploying the resources available to the Garda Síochána so as to ensure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of those resources
  • hold so many meetings with the Garda Commissioner as are necessary for the performance if its functions, at least four of which each year may be attended by the public and the media be permitted to broadcast
  • Keep itself generally informed as to:
    • complaints made against members of the Garda Síochána and the application of the Disciplinary Regulations
    • trends and patterns in crimes committed
  • Undertake, commission or assist in research projects in respect of matters relating to policing services, which in the opinion of the Authority, may:

    • promote an improvement in standards for those matters and public awareness of them or
    • contribute to a reduction in the number of complaints against members of the Garda Síochána in relation to those matters
  • Monitor and assess measures taken by the Garda Síochána in relation to recommendations made in a report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate.
  • The Act provides for a number of other discrete functions which include:
  • Responsibility for

    • nominating persons for appointment by the Government to the posts of Garda Commissioner and Deputy Garda Commissioner, following a selection process undertaken by the Public Appointments Service
    • appointing persons to the ranks of Garda Superintendent, Chief Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner
    • approval of the appointment by the Garda Commissioner of civilian staff
    • appointment of the civilian staff of the Garda Síochána of grades equivalent to or above that of Chief Superintendent
    • removing or recommending the removal of members of the Garda Síochána at those ranks for stated reasons relating to policing services
  • Establishing a Garda Code of Ethics within 12 months of the establishment of the Authority i.e. by end 2016
  • Issuing guidelines to Local Authorities and the Garda Commissioner concerning the establishment and maintenance of Joint Policing Committees (JPCs) and convening meetings of JPC chairpersons for the purpose of coordinating or facilitating the performance of their functions
  • Provision of information and advice to the Minister on a range of issues including:

    • matters relating to policing services and, in particular, matters relevant to the accountability of the Government to the Oireachtas
    • the resources that are likely to be required by the Garda Síochána to perform its functions in each forthcoming financial year
    • measures taken by the Garda Síochána in relation to recommendations made in a report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate
    • developments in respect of matters relating to policing services
    • recommendations to assist the Minister in co-ordinating and developing policy in that regard
    • best policing practice
  • Promotion of the policing principles and public awareness of matters relating to policing services and support the continuous improvement of policing in the State

Under section 26(3) of the Garda Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is accountable to the Minister for Justice and Equality for the performance of the Commissioner’s functions and those of the Garda Síochána.