One in five gardaí still to sign ethics code

Policing Authority mid-year review praises improvements in Garda force

The authority’s mid-year review was positive about the fact that there had been an increase in road safety detections.

The authority’s mid-year review was positive about the fact that there had been an increase in road safety detections.

 

One in five gardaí have still not signed up to the force’s code of ethics, according to a mid-year assessment of improvements in An Garda Síochána by the Policing Authority.

The figures represent an improvement, following an initial reluctance among rank and file members of the force to sign up to the code, which was introduced in the wake of a series of Garda scandals.

By the middle of last year, less than half of gardaí had signed up to the ethics code, but by mid-2019 this had increased to 80 per cent.

The code details various duties expected of gardaí including upholding the law, honesty and integrity, respect, privacy, transparency, and speaking up about wrongdoing.

On Thursday, the Policing Authority published its half-year assessment of An Garda Síochána’s policing plan for the year. The review found the force was behind its targets in 17 areas, and at risk of missing another nine. The mid-year assessment found the force was on track in respect of 66 different goals for improvements.

The Policing Authority review said an increase in the number of sex offences reported in the first six months of the year, may indicate “an increased confidence in detecting these types of crime”.

Some 230 gardaí had been redeployed to frontline duties in the first half of 2019, which the authority said was positive.

However, the Policing Authority was critical it could not assess the force’s performance on figures for crime levels and detections.

“This is because An Garda Síochána is pursuing a new approach to measurement, but has not yet finalised the revised system of presenting crime data. This is of concern to the Authority,” the watchdog said.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has had to publish garda crime statistics “under reservation”, meaning the figures come with a significant health warning, due to concerns around their accuracy.

Given that crime detection rates dropped in 2017 and 2018, “the absence of reliable data limits the Authority’s ability to assess key performance measures, and to provide the public with a sense of progress”, the authority said.

It said reliable figures on the force’s performance solving crime were needed to help maintain public confidence in An Garda Síochána.

The authority’s mid-year review was positive about the fact that there had been an increase in road safety detections, such as interventions where motorists were driving without seat belts, using mobile phones, speeding, and drink driving offences.