‘This is YOUR police service’: Public asked for their input in garda review

“I ask for your thoughts, your frustrations, your experiences, and your ideas,” chair Kathleen O’Toole said.

THE CHAIR OF an expert group tasked with defining the development and future of the Gardaí has invited the public to share their ideas.

Chairperson Kathleen O’Toole will lead a group of academics, legal experts, consultants, public servants and human rights advocates.

The Commission on the Future of Policing will look at ways of reforming An Garda Síochaná over the next fifteen months, publishing their recommendations on a ‘rolling basis’.

O’Toole, the Chief of the Seattle Police Department, said today that the commission wouldn’t approach reform ”through the prism of scandal and accusation”, but instead, look at it “in a strategic way that will allow us to examine the fundamentals of and challenges facing Irish policing”.

She also had a strong message for the public:

To the community, this is YOUR commission. More importantly this is YOUR police service. A community’s trust, respect, engagement and support of its police are, without question, essential to modern, effective, and ethical policing.

“The foundation for achieving community trust must be built on transparency. I pledge to you that our process will be a highly visible, transparent endeavour.

In return, I ask for your engagement and contributions to the process. I promise to you that we will listen. I ask that you join us at community meetings, if you are able.

We will establish electronic means of communicating with us, and I ask that you use them. I ask for your thoughts, your frustrations, your experiences, and your ideas.

She also said that this work was for members of An Garda Síochána.

She said that the challenges faced by Ireland’s police force was the same problems in other corners of the world: drugs and organised crime; changing societies and communities; limited resources; or addressing terrorist threats.