O’Higgins report: ‘systemic’ review of Garda performance urged

‘Systemic approach to management performance should be part of An Garda Síochána’

Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins noted that while a new performance management system is about to be introduced into An Garda Síochána, it should be “implemented immediately”.

Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins noted that while a new performance management system is about to be introduced into An Garda Síochána, it should be “implemented immediately”.

 

Members and management of An Garda Síochána should take a “systemic” approach to reviewing their own performance, an inquiry into claims of Garda malpractice has found.

The report of the commission of investigation into the Cavan-Monaghan region of An Garda Síochána, chaired by Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins, makes a number of recommendations.

These include a call that a “systemic approach to management performance, for members and officers, should be part of An Garda Síochána”.

Mr Justice O’Higgins noted that while a new performance management system is about to be introduced into An Garda Síochána, it should be “implemented immediately”.

The report also found there was a “lack of proper note taking and recording in all cases” examined by the commission, and says that all units of the force should be “be diligent in taking proper notes”.

“Unit sergeants should regularly monitor the performance of their unit members in that regard,” it says, adding that the computer crime unit, based in Dublin, “should be afforded adequate resources and personnel”.

Considerable delays

The judge also deals with the roles of sergeants and superintendents in his recommendations.

The sergeant in charge of a station is recognised as having a “pivotal role” in the running of a Garda station, and has wide-ranging responsibilities. The report noted that the position of a sergeant was described as the “glue” that can hold a station together.

“The commission considers that detailed and specific information, as to the precise scope of the duties of a sergeant in charge . . . should be set out in written job specification relevant to the role for each station,” the report says.

“A sergeant in charge should acknowledge his or her understanding of the role as described in that job specification.

“Consideration should be given to setting out the duties of sergeant in charge in the code in a more helpful manner.”

Overtime

“The commission suggests that a review be undertaken on the terms and conditions applicable to the role of sergeant in charge to adequately reflect the responsibility of the role.”

On the position of superintendents of Garda districts, Mr Justice O’Higgins said it is surprising to hear that superintendents are only allocated to districts for an 18-month to two-year period.

This length of time is “unduly short, and not conducive to stability, continuity, or team building in a district”.

Templates should be drawn up to cover all inquiries into breaches of discipline and members of the force should be continually updated on how to use the Pulse system.

The Garda station at Bailieboro is described as “not fit for purpose”, but it is noted that a new station has been promised by the Government.

It also says that the incidents in Bailieboro took place “many years ago” and that gardaí in the station “worked under the shadow of those events for a very long time”.