herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

80 civilians to take on garda duty at airport

extra gardai will be assigned to investigating human trafficking and sex crimes as civilians are deployed to airport immigration duty.

The programme to allow more civilians take on immigration control work at Dublin Airport will pave the way for the redeployment of 125 gardai.

The bulk of the officers are expected to remain with the Garda National Immigration Bureau and will be diverted into the campaign against international crime gangs who organise human trafficking and force foreign nationals into prostitution.

The rest are likely to be transferred to other garda units.

Announcing the roll-out of the programme after a successful 18-month pilot scheme at the airport, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she was committed to pursuing all opportunities to civilianise non-frontline garda tasks.

This would release officers from behind desks and provide a visible policing service on the ground.

The move will mean the assignment of an additional 80 civilian staff at border control booths on a round-the-clock basis, while 75 gardai will be freed from immigration checks at the airport and another 50 after the transfer of immigration permission duties from the Garda to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service at the Department of Justice.

officials

The pilot project is based at Terminal 1, and the civilianisation of posts there should be completed by next summer, while it should also be fully operational at Terminal 2 by the end of 2015.

The minister said she and her officials would also examine extending the programme to other air and sea ports.

She said the initiative made sense, both from an efficiency and economic perspective and would save millions of euro.

"The establishment of a permanent frontline, uniformed civilian border control unit is a step-change in the State's approach to managing our borders," she added.

But she paid tribute to the contribution made by the gardai to protecting our borders since the foundation of the State and said they would continue to provide core policing functions at the airport and support the civilian staff, where appropriate.

hnews@herald.ie

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