The Policing Authority has today published its Assessment of Policing Performance 2022, an evaluation of the Garda Síochána’s performance over the course of 2022. Policing performance is assessed primarily against the Authority’s Statutory Performance Framework — consisting of the Garda Síochána Statement of Strategy, Policing Priorities, and annual Policing Plan. This biannual assessment is key to providing transparency about policing performance, the oversight of policing, and the outcomes of that work.
The considerable impact of the current resourcing challenges is noted throughout the assessment. These challenges have impeded the realisation of objectives set by the Garda Síochána and continue to hinder intended progress and outcomes across a wide array of policing services including those relating to community policing and engagement, responding to economic crime, and enabling the ongoing policing reform programme. The ongoing impact of COVID-19 in relation to resources is profound. The closure of the Garda college for a time, and the restrictions on numbers able to attend once reopened, has resulted in more than a thousand fewer Gardaí available for service than the organisation’s planning had envisaged. The disruptive effects of COVID-19 are inseparable from any analysis of current resource inadequacy and will continue to affect resourcing in the coming years.
Policing performance highlights in 2022 include:
- Protection of the Vulnerable: There continues to be a focus on the improvement of service to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence — with a number of successful convictions in 2022 highlighting the impact of the important, sustained progress that continues to be made in these areas. This includes notable increases in the capacity of the Garda Síochána to analyse seized IT devices to assist in the investigation of all crimes, but with particular benefit to the response to offences involving child sex abuse. The decrease in the number of devices awaiting analysis is a considerable success for the organisation.
- Engagement and Protection of Migrants: The Garda Síochána played a considerable role in the response to the war in Ukraine with the engagement and support of refugees demonstrating their ongoing commitment to community policing and diverse communities. Relatedly the organisation has played an important role in balancing the right of members of the community to hold protests with the safeguarding of the rights of those who have been subject to such protest activity.
- Ongoing modernisation: The Garda Síochána continues to make significant progress in modernising and improving its ability to offer policing services to communities. The Authority welcomes the continued recruitment of specialist Garda staff, the delivery of key training to members and staff, and efficiencies offered by the continued realisation of the ICT Vision. In particular the organisation’s commitment to the rollout of the Operating Model is welcomed despite the challenges faced.
- The continued, multi-national response to organised crime: There is sustained success in tackling Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) engaged in the drugs trade and perpetrating cyber and economic crimes in Ireland. In particular, the collaboration with international partners to respond to the activities of OCGs in collaboration with US, UK, EU and other partners, represent landmark successes for the Garda Síochána.
Policing Authority Chairperson, Bob Collins, commented on the publication of the report:
“2022 saw many significant achievements by the Garda Síochána. The response to the war on Ukraine was very impressive; the persistent, careful, professional police work that saw significant inroads into the world of organised crime gangs was particularly noteworthy; and the success of Protective Service Units in every Garda Division has been sustained and is deeply appreciated by those who deal with and are supported by them. As in so many other years, Gardaí have been the subject of assault and attack by unscrupulous individuals simply for doing their jobs. It is intolerable and is totally condemned by the Authority.
New challenges constantly emerge for the Garda Síochána and significant progress has been made but urgent work remains to be done if the ambitions for the highest quality of policing service to the people are to be realised.”