herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Hard-hitting film shows tough life of gardai on crime frontline

A documentary has been made by rank-and-file gardai highlighting the dangers that officers face every day.

The film, which has been commissioned by the Garda Representative Association (GRA), will give a unique insight into frontline crimefighting. As the Herald's exclusive stills show, film-maker Roger Fitzpatrick and his crew captured gardai as they carried out on a variety of daily duties.

The film will be previewed at the GRA conference in April and shows the tough side of work for those who protect and serve.

Viewers will watch as camera crews search in the dark for a suspected car thief, travel in a squad car during a high-speed chase after a stolen taxi and watch as smugglers from the North reverse away when faced by a garda checkpoint.



Concerns

Camera crews followed GRA members in Dublin as well as around the country in rural areas and at the border, where the threat from dissident republicans remains high.

As part of the movie, Mr Fitzpatrick conducted seven interviews with gardai focusing on how their lives have been affected by the nature of their work and the pay cuts that were brought in after last December's Budget. They will reveal how their families have suffered in the financial crisis and how morale has been affected by the financial burden they have had to endure.

The video will be distributed among GRA members with the aim of generating further debate on the issues facing gardai today.

Film-maker Fitzpatrick revealed that the film is an opportunity for gardai to air their concerns -- without spin.

He told the Garda Review magazine: "Showing GRA members putting themselves on the line night and day on film demonstrates to the wider public what exactly you go through on a daily and weekly basis. "It tells the story of real people having to do their job while burdened by the worries in the back of their minds about reduced pay and its impact on their families."

The GRA sent out a questionnaire last December to gauge the feeling among members with regard to possible industrial action.

Some 93pc said they should take some form of industrial action. However, less than half of the 11,600 gardai polled participated in the questionnaire.

The force began a work-to-rule on Monday, the first in the force's history, by refusing to use their own mobile phones, laptops and cameras in the course of their professional duties. Gardai also refused to answer work-related calls on their own mobile phones as part of the protest.

hnews@herald.ie

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