New roster puts gardaí on duty at wrong times, says report

Garda Inspectorate suggests arrangement negatively affects crime investigation

The roster is built around gardaí working six consecutive days of 10 hours followed by four days off duty.

The roster is built around gardaí working six consecutive days of 10 hours followed by four days off duty.

 

A new Garda rostering system, introduced as part of Government reforms, is inefficient and leaves too many officers on duty at unsuitable times, the Garda Inspectorate report has found.

It says all Garda ranks complained that the new arrangement created operational deployment problems.

The new roster, known as the Westmanstown roster, was introduced in 2012 and was hailed as an example of modernisation in the public service.

The roster is built around gardaí working six consecutive days of 10 hours followed by four days off duty.

However, the inspectorate report says that for gardaí with investigative and case management responsibilities, a four-day break impacts negatively on continuity and crime investigation.

It says it is also unsatisfactory for victims, witnesses and stakeholders such as the courts and State prosecutors.

“The implementation of the pilot roster in April 2012 has significantly reduced the number of working days per member, has reduced the overall number of working hours, has reduced the availability of front-line supervisors and has reduced the numbers of people available for operational deployments.”

The report says that the inefficiencies in the roster shows that a “one-size, fits all” arrangement does not adequately support the wide-ranging work of An Garda Síochána.

“There are too many people working the Garda roster that does not place them on duty at the right time of the day and week”.

Multiple rosters

The inspectorate report recommends that multiple rosters should be developed to optimise the deployment of all Garda resources.

It says there should be specific rosters for those responding to calls for service, those on national, regional and divisional units involved in operations and criminal investigations, as well as local and specialist units such as traffic and community policing.

The report says the inspectorate recognises the complexities and intricacies involved in designing and implementing rosters for an entire police organisation.

However, it says that before moving to a new roster, “a police service should be certain that it provides the best possible match to policing demands”.

The inspectorate report also says that front-line policing services were not protected from the effects of the overall reduction in the numbers in the force over recent years.

“The Inspectorate believes that the Garda Síochána must protect frontline services and ensure that a far greater proportion of staff are performing duties that involve direct contact with the public.”