AGSI agrees on establishment of independent policing authority to regulate the gardaí

Wednesday 16 April 2014 21.56
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The conference was told the authority should be comprised of independent, professional people
The conference was told the authority should be comprised of independent, professional people
The AGSI says the number of gardaí available to police roads has been dramatically reduced
The AGSI says the number of gardaí available to police roads has been dramatically reduced

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has agreed to the establishment of an independent policing authority to control and regulate the gardaí.

The AGSI annual conference in Killarney was told the authority should be comprised of independent, professional people from different backgrounds, but it could also include retired gardaí.

Sergeants and inspectors say the public expects the gardaí to be accountable and transparent.

Although it should guard against political interference in the force, serving politicians should not necessarily be excluded from being on the authority.

A motion was also passed seeking to have garda reservists wear a different uniform from full-time gardaí.

Delegates said this is not to stigmatise them, but to distinguish them so that members of the public know who they are dealing with.

Meanwhile, the association called on the Garda Commissioner to investigate if there is a connection between the reduction in the Garda Traffic Corps and the increase in road fatalities.

Fifty people have died on the roads so far this year and the Garda National Traffic Bureau said it will target speeding and other motoring offences over Easter.

However, delegates said the number of gardaí available to police the roads has been dramatically reduced.

AGSI said more people are being killed on the roads because there are fewer gardaí on traffic duty.

Last year saw the first increase in seven years in road deaths year-on-year, as 28 more people lost their lives compared to 2012.

However, delegates pointed out that the number of gardaí on traffic duty has been reduced by a third from 1,200 to 800.

Officers in Co Mayo said the strength of the traffic corps there has dropped from a peak of five sergeants and 22 gardaí to just two sergeants and nine gardaí based at the divisional headquarters in Castlebar.

They called for an in-depth study of contributory factors to the increase in deaths on the roads.

They believe it is connected to the reduction in the number of gardaí on traffic duty and they also want the commissioner to increase garda numbers in this area.