Gardaí have been inconsistent in their approach to policing during the Covid-19 pandemic, with young people in particular treated differently to the rest of the population, the Policing Authority has said.

In its sixth report assessing An Garda Síochána's performance during the pandemic, the authority says not everyone or every group has had the same experience of policing in these past months.

The authority said that organisations working with young people have highlighted the dangers of this to trust between gardaí and young people.

The report also found that the policing response to domestic abuse has been sustained throughout the period, in terms of "proactivity and resourcing", and different community groups have been appreciative of the force's approach and work during the public health crisis.

The Policing Authority continues to monitor and raise concerns about the use of anti-spit hoods.

It said the effectiveness of the type of anti-spit hood deployed in Ireland in preventing the spread of Covid-19 had not yet been determined.

It also there is limited evidence in other jurisdictions as to their overall effectiveness.

The two garda associations have welcomed the deployment of anti-spit hoods, but this is to be reviewed in September.

The Chairman of the Policing Authority, Bob Collins, said this evening that gardaí themselves must have experienced the generosity of the responses to their exemplary service.

The challenge for the Garda Commissioner and senior management will be to capture that new approach, openness and understanding and make it permanent, he said.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee welcomed the publication of the report, saying she is "particularly heartened" that the report notes the willingness with which the Garda Síochána has engaged with the health emergency.