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Restoring Public Confidence in Policing - Sinn Féin publishes proposals to reform policing

11 April, 2017 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD has, this morning, published a document outlining proposals to restore public confidence in policing.

Speaking this morning, Teachta O’Brien said;

“Everyone is entitled to policing that serves the people. Since 2005, we have seen major changes to how An Garda Síochána operates. We have seen the establishment of GSOC, the Garda Inspectorate and the Policing Authority which we welcomed.   We also made reasonable and sensible suggestions as to how those organisations could be more effective and accountable in their work.

“However, during this time, we have seen the penalty point scandal and the Guerin Report, the Fennelly Report, the O’Higgins Report, the O’Neill Report, the Cooke Report, and the Departure of a Garda Commissioner with his replacement subject to a tribunal of investigation.

“Public confidence is now at rock bottom as a result.

“Among our proposed reforms for An Garda Síochána is a Patten style commission for the 26 Counties with a wide ranging terms of reference.

“We also call for an independent Policing Authority with responsibility to determine Garda priorities and consult local communities on their work.  This Authority should be empowered to conduct their work without consent of the Minister, to hold the Garda commissioner and senior Garda management to account.

“It should have full independent capacity regarding appointments of senior members, including the Commissioner, and the power to remove them.

“It would deal with complaints and discipline of senior officers, monitor and address human rights compliance and it would have diverse membership with political representation according to d’Hondt.

“We propose a GSOC that does not second serving officers of an Garda, that is impartial and has a statutory obligation to report regularly, that investigates complaints against serving and retired Gardaí and does not have material withheld on national security grounds.

“It would have an expanded remit over civilian staff of Gardaí and the power to compel witnesses and retired Gardaí to attend interview.

“We also propose a new Criminal Justice Inspectorate to oversee and supervise the administration of all aspects of the justice system using the north as a possible model.

“Sinn Féin will work towards the establishment of an all-Ireland Criminal Justice Inspectorate responsible for inspecting all justice organisations including An Garda Síochána, the DPP, the Probation Service, the Courts Service and the Irish Youth Justice Service.

“We want to achieve effective civic policing by police services that are accountable, free from partisan political control, representative of the community they serve, routinely unarmed, imbued with a human rights ethos, and trained and held to the highest professional standards.

“These proposals set out our vision for policing in Ireland.” 

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