Senior Gardaí broadly welcome Drew Harris appointment as Garda Commissioner

Officers express hope he can push for more resources to counter the effects of cutbacks

 

Senior Gardaí have broadly welcomed the selection of Drew Harris as the next Garda Commissioner with members of the force hoping that he will press for more resources to allow An Garda Síochána to provide a full policing service.

The Irish Times spoke to a number of senior officers on an anonymous basis and none made any issue of the fact that Mr Harris, the PSNI Deputy Chief Constable, is the first non-member of An Garda Síochána to lead the force in more than 50 years. Some welcomed the recruitment of an outsider.

One officer said he believed Mr Harris faces serious challenges but would prove a success with Garda management and rank and file if he confronts the issue of resources and presses for additional budgets.

“I know people who worked with Drew Harris in the North and he’s a pretty straight talker. We haven’t been honest with government in recent years and nobody at senior level as told them either through the Public Accounts Committee or the Policing Authority that we need more resources,” the officer said.

‘Not possible’

“Our resources have been cut by up to 25 per cent and we are still expected to provide the same level of service and that’s just not possible so I’m hoping he will put it fairly and squarely to Government…”

The officer said he hoped Mr Harris would secure additional funding as he did not want to see the Garda following the model of policing in the UK, where many forces prioritise certain crimes and do not investigate more minor complaints from the public.

Civilian

Another senior officer said he had no issue with Mr Harris being appointed from outside the force’s ranks and welcomed the fact that he was an experienced police officer. The Garda reckoned there would be far greater cause for concern if a civilian had been chosen for the job.

“Personally, I’m delighted he’s a police officer. I know he’s an outsider but he’s a very experienced officer who has dealt with murder investigations, bombings, sectarianism and I think people will respect that and he’s gone through a very rigours interview process so that will all stand to him.”

The officer expressed concern about a report in Wednesday’s Irish Times which said that Mr Harris would likely bring in his own team of top officers.

“If that’s true and he brings in his own people without them going through the selection process that exists, that won’t go down well within the organisation or with the various Garda associations,” the officer added.

State security

Another senior officer said he hoped Mr Harris would push for greater civilianisation of the force to free up officers currently tied up in administration to get more involved in policing duties. He also expressed hope that it might compel the Government to address issues regarding State security.

The PSNI’s chief constable, George Hamilton, told MPs in Westminster that Mr Harris’s appointment will strengthen relationships and strategic co-operation between North and South.

“He’s a man of great wisdom and humility and resilience… So it’s our loss, certainly, at one level but it bodes well for strategic co-operation in the future between the two organisations,” he said.

6 Responses to Senior Gardaí broadly welcome Drew Harris appointment as Garda Commissioner

  1. Arthur O June 29, 2018 at 11:58 am #

    While I would love to be much more positive I logically cannot.

    Wait until all the uncouth bashers, including the government that appointed him, the media and the begrudges get their teeth in him, we will soon be back to square one.

    A lifetime of experience in policing has clearly shown me that successive Irish governments have done everything in their power down through those many years to negate the effectiveness of the policing service in Ireland thereby leaving us with the shortcomings the service is suffering today and consequently the sovereign people who are deserving their constitutional right in terms of one of the main pillars of living in a democracy.

    When we see a well known politician recently convicted of a serious crime and practically getting away without appropriate punishment, need we ask why the policing service has been so badly negated by successive governments.

    Frontline policing personnel are still doing exceptional work for the people despite all of the unnecessary oversight bodies that are looking over their shoulders and threatening.

    History has shown us there is little chance for betterment.

  2. timothy June 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

    Good appointment and best of luck. Its team-work by all now under a new leader for the overall betterment of the force and welfare of the members. A lot of self interest in the past leading to incompetence and tribunals of enquiry. What’s coming out is bad. Clean-up needed in honesty and efficiency, good for morale.

  3. Eugene July 1, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    If Harris attempts to appoint a “New Team” at the top he is in for trouble, experienced officers will flee and rightly so, why would young Chiefs and Supts hang around knowing that they haven’t a hope of promotion in the short term? . If he digs in his heels and gets extra funding, -and a lot is needed-, then he will eventually bring the job close to the way the PSNI is now. I’m sure that the Politicians will try to control him as they did with others, hopefully he will resist that , and improve training, vehicles, equipment and conditions . That would be a start. Interesting times ahead I say.

  4. John Brennan July 2, 2018 at 4:51 pm #

    Mr Harris must have received some guarantee that adequate resources for manpower, training, equipment will be given or nothing will change.
    The various reports have all recommended changes that have been highlighted year after year by the staff associations but were ignored by management

  5. Arthur O July 2, 2018 at 8:30 pm #

    “Senior Gardaí broadly welcome Drew Harris appointment as Garda Commissioner”

    Who can be sure where the above newspaper headline and article came from? Can it really be attributed to any Garda body or association. It matches the government statements surrounding the appointment and is likely a dictat from government to a weak biased, unbalanced media whose press-freedom entitlements no longer exist.

    This is nothing more than another gimmick to maintain the dreadfully adverse status-quo and keep a political grip on the policing service in Ireland at a time when there must be a much greater remove. Additionally the service must be massively resourced to meet even a basic level of policing that the sovereign people are entitled to.

    As there is little in Ireland that should have a security classification in the context of policing any greater than “CLASSIFIED” the people should be informed in much more detail in a transparent manner as to what has exactly been put in place to assist the new Garda Commissioner do anything worthwhile.

    The deceitful government we have must step up to the plate and admit its grand scale incompetence and the corruption it practices against the people.

    For example – have they secretly renewed the USC charges in the last few days and at the same time tell us the country has made an economic recovery?

  6. John July 5, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

    I have spoken with and to many senior gardai since the announcement. I can safely safe that they are horrified at the idea that he will be in charge of State Security. Considering his unsubstantiated testimony (Nonsense on Stilts) to the Smithwick Tribunal and to the principle that no person associated with the Security Service of a neighbouring State would be allowed into such a sensitive position.

    It sure as hell would not happen in the UK and they would be right to prevent it. Are we the children of a lesser God?

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