The Policing Authority has published its Annual Report for 2021, which was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on Tuesday 26 July by Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD.
In 2021, the Authority continued its oversight of policing during the period of COVID-19 restrictions and increased police powers. This involved significant levels of engagement with a breadth of groups, organisations and communities to understand their experience of policing during this time. Six reports were submitted to the Minister for Justice on policing during the year.
A specific focus during 2021 was oversight of the Garda Síochána review and response to the invalid and unwarranted closure of CAD 999 incidents and this work continues. This work has been critical for public confidence in the Garda Síochána’s response to victims of crime.
As set out in its review of the year published in December 2021, the Authority’s oversight of the Garda Síochána also included matters relating to Garda integrity; violence against women; and, drug and drug related policing. Additionally, the Authority appeared before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice on three occasions as part of the Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of a number of important Bills that are in preparation.
Chairperson Bob Collins commented:
“Central to understanding and assessing policing is the lived experience of our communities of the quality and consistency of the services provided by the Garda Síochána. The Authority continued in 2021 to engage with stakeholders and communities to understand the outcomes of policing in people’s lives, expanding its programme of engagement and seeking new voices – including through the undertaking of a public consultation to assist in the setting of the Policing Priorities.
The focus of the Authority throughout the year was on support and protection offered to victims and the vulnerable; the enhancement of the engagement with and quality of the policing service provided to all communities; the response to organised crime; and the embedding of Garda integrity.”