Garda promotions to be handled by Public Appointments Service

More than 200 sergeants set to be appointed under new regulations this year

Under the new structure, the 14,500-strong Garda force will consist of up to 2,210 sergeants and 482 inspectors. Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins

Under the new structure, the 14,500-strong Garda force will consist of up to 2,210 sergeants and 482 inspectors. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

 

The Public Appointments Service is to take over the management of the majority of promotions within the Garda, paving the way for hundreds of promotions within the lower ranks.

Garda management currently decides on promotions to the positions of sergeant and inspector, the middle-management ranks within the force.

Under new regulations introduced by Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys, the promotion process is to be significantly reformed and will be brought under the remit of the Public Appointments Service (PAS), which handles recruitment for most of the rest of the Civil Service.

“The new process will be fair, modern and transparent and in line with the findings of the cultural audit undertaken by An Garda Síochána in 2018,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

There are currently 226 vacant sergeant positions and 57 vacant inspector positions. The new regulations mean the PAS can begin filling these positions before the end of the year.

Appointments to the rank of superintendent and above will remain under the remit of the Policing Authority.

Operating model

Last year, the department sanctioned an increase in the recruitment of sergeants and inspectors to bolster supervision within the force. Under the new structure, the 14,500-strong force will consist of up to 2,210 sergeants and 482 inspectors.

Many of these inspectors will be required to implement the rollout of the new Garda operating model, the biggest restructuring and modernisation of the force in its 100-year history.

Other reforms announced by the Minister over the weekend include the introduction of a probationary period for newly promoted gardaí and a five-year time limit for promotion candidates to pass the required exams. If they do not pass within that time, they will have to start the process again.

Academic exemptions for some parts of promotional exams are to be abolished and the Garda Promotion Advisory Council is to be dissolved under the restructuring.

Supervision and mentoring

Ms Humphreys said the new regulations “will both strengthen An Garda Síochána with new recruits and increase supervision and mentoring within the organisation”.

She said the regulations follow extensive engagement between the department, the PAS and An Garda, as well as consultation with the Policing Authority and the Garda representative bodies.

“The restructuring of the promotion process for garda sergeants and inspectors is a crucial action under a ‘Policing Service for our Future’, the implementation plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, ” she said.

“I am very grateful to all parties for their participation and contribution to realising this commitment.”

The Garda has sought to speed up the promotions process recently in order to fill the large number of vacant supervisory roles.

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