The Policing Authority has published its Annual Report for 2020, which was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas today by Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys TD.
The primary focus of the Authority’s oversight and engagement in 2020 was the policing of COVID-19, ensuring that there was persistent oversight of policing during a time of increased police powers and demands on policing. It adapted its work practices to the new realities the pandemic brought, and upon request from the Minister for Justice, submitted twelve reports on policing during COVID-19 during 2020.
As set out in its review of the year published in December 2020, the Authority’s oversight of the Garda Síochána in 2020 also included diversity; sexual crime and domestic violence; the vulnerability of children; and anti-corruption. Additionally, the Authority engaged with the Draft General Scheme of the Bill, which will give effect to the Government’s decision to accept the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing.
Chairperson Bob Collins commented:
“The Authority recognised from the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic that it must maintain and, where possible, strengthen its work of oversight of the Garda Síochána in these new circumstances. The exceptional powers given to Gardaí in the emergency legislation required a proportionate response in oversight terms.”
The Authority’s robust oversight of the Garda Síochána continues, with oversight priorities for 2021 including implementation of the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate report on Child Sexual Abuse; and management of suspects in custody. A meeting in public between the Policing Authority and the Garda Commissioner will take place tomorrow, Thursday 24 June at 3pm and will be live-streamed on www.policingauthority.ie. Commissioner Harris will be questioned by the Authority on such issues as policing during COVID-19, including public order policing; and the Garda review of cancellation of 999 calls.