Gardai in line for business award
Gardai in the Dublin North Central Division are in the running for a national award based on the success of a mission to treat people in their region as customers, rather than citizens.
The customer-oriented community policing approach saw local gardai go door-to-door on the city's northside and interview 15,000 people - asking them a simple question - what service do you want from the gardai?
"At the beginning of 2009 when we were all facing cuts the message was that we had to do more with less," Chief Supt Pat Leahy from Store Street garda station said.
"We asked ourselves if we were a business with customers how would we be, and to be frank the answer was we would be out of business."
The gardai used a computerised mapping tool to break the region up into small areas, and then 154 gardai were assigned to visit each with a questionnaire.
"We went to every type of home, business and individual and asked them what it was they wanted from the local gardai," said Chief Supt Leahy.
The areas that caused greatest concern were drugs, anti-social behaviour, property crime, traffic, litter, begging and other more minor issues.
"After being awarded the Q Mark of Quality Management for the system, we invited Excellence Ireland to talk to all our stakeholders independently and the feedback was so good that we were short-listed for the national awards," he added.