A new policing model to be rolled out across the country is both “concerning and unconvincing”, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) have said.
Widespread changes to the governance structure of An Garda Síochána will see an additional 1,800 Gardaí on the frontline in the next three years, a phased reduction of Divisions over the next year including the merger of Clare and Tipperary plus the increase in size of respective Garda Divisions.
Deputy General Secretary of the AGSI, Antoinette Cunningham was cautious of the new operating model’s impact on Clare. “If you are to take it down to the local communities and look at the model proposed, the reduction of Divisions from 28 down to 19. If we take Co Clare and Tipperary as an example, currently we have a Chief Superintendent in Clare and a management structure there, we have another Chief Superintendent in Tipperary. Do the people of Clare and Tipperary now realise there will only be one Chief Superintendent there and a reduction in the management level for those two counties. This is where it comes back to policing our local communities, of course policing our local communities remains a high priority for AGSI and we will do that in co-operation with Garda management in whatever plan they outline”.
Cunningham felt that if greater visibility of the 1.800 front-line Gardaí in both counties results “the plan will certainly be deemed a success”.
She added, “The Commissioner has clearly outlined that this will take time to evolve, that planned recruitment is over a three year period, we would like to have seen the pace of that happen a lot quicker. For members currently on the front-line all they see is another model on top of a model that they don’t really know what it’s going to achieve because they are not seeing the changes on the front-line that they need to do their job efficiently and by that I mean training equipment”.