The Policing Authority has today published the 15th in a series of reports on its assessment of policing performance by the Garda Síochána during the COVID-19 crisis, which was submitted to the Minister for Justice on Monday. Since the previous report, the level of enforcement activity has continued to fall in line with the easing of restrictions, and the policing focus is shifting to managing the reopening of society.
The response from organisations working with those suffering domestic abuse continues to be overwhelmingly positive. The commitment and focus of the Garda Síochána on this area of crime through Operation Faoiseamh has endured. One local organisation spoke about the positive change that had occurred in the relationship between their organisation and local Gardaí in recent years being accelerated by the experience of the pandemic.
Despite many positives there have also been challenges, with the June Bank Holiday weekend seeing significant public order incidents taking place in areas of Dublin. Through its meetings and committees, the Authority has questioned the Commissioner and his senior team on how the Garda Síochána plans for, responds to and learns from such public order incidents. Through its engagement with stakeholders, the Authority heard that increased engagement with the business community and better planning by the key actors could reduce the potential for public order incidents. The Authority will continue to monitor this area as restrictions continue to ease and in to the future.
Policing Authority Chairperson, Bob Collins commented:
“The process of lifting restrictions while being alive to the very real dangers of the virus is filled with complications. Not least of these is what we hope may happen. The prospect of new, or rather old, freedoms increases expectations. Possibilities are imagined. And reality, constrained by circumstance, can disappoint.
These are not just theoretical reflections. They have real impact on how the Garda Síochána approaches the policing of remaining emergency regulations. And they have real impact also on how the work of policing is perceived, as well as on how it may be felt, by the population or by sections of it. ”
The next meeting in public between the Policing Authority and the Garda Commissioner will take place on Thursday 29 July and will be live-streamed on www.policingauthority.ie.
The Authority will publish its Assessment of Policing Performance for the year to date in early August.