The Policing Authority has been actively engaged with the issue of the unwarranted cancellation of 999 calls since being first informed in December 2020 and, especially, since more detailed and comprehensive information was made available in May 2021. The independent, external preliminary examination commissioned by the Authority, and being undertaken by Mr. Derek Penman, is ongoing. While initially envisaged that this preliminary piece of work might have concluded by this time, the range of issues to be considered and the requirement to address additional information that has arisen as the work has progressed—together with the awaited resolution of legal problems in his having access to hearing some of the calls involved—means that it is unlikely to conclude for some time.
The Garda Síochána has informed the Policing Authority during the past week that it has identified further issues which raise questions about the appropriateness of management and cancellation of CAD incidents/999 calls. These issues are of serious concern to the Authority. They relate to a number of calls that were cancelled other than through the remedial arrangements that were introduced to resolve the original problem. There is also a far greater number where the appropriateness of their original classification and, in some cases, changes in their classification require detailed examination. It is clear that some of these incidents have been identified as very high risk but the number in this category is still to be determined.
The Authority is seeking to understand how these issues have persisted despite the intense focus on this matter since it came to light and to establish how remedial measures may have been circumvented or their intention frustrated. As part of the Authority’s continuing oversight of this critically important issue, close contacts with the Commissioner and his colleagues are being maintained. And it will be discussed in detail with the Commissioner at a special, live-streamed, public session of the next Authority meeting on 28 October. Mr. Penman has also been advised of these recent developments and will include them in his examination.