herald

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Lack of cash could see two garda units left without a base

Harcourt Square garda HQ
Harcourt Square garda HQ

Two Garda national units could be without a base if the development of a new garda HQ goes ahead.

A number of units targeting organised crime are housed in the Harcourt Square building in Dublin.

These are scheduled to relocate to a new HQ on the Military Road, with building due to begin next year.

However, the new building for the national units will be a storey shorter than previously planned because of budget restrictions.

Concerns

It means there will be significantly less space in the new HQ, leaving two national units without a base.

The units in question have not been named, but Harcourt Square currently houses most of the country's units targeting organised crime, including the Special Detective Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The scenario was highlighted in the Policing Authority's review of the Garda Modernisation and Renewal Programme.

The authority expressed concerns about serious flaws in the programme, which it assessed in its fifth report on the Implementation of Changing Policing in Ireland.

It also expressed its frustration with the slow pace of implementation, which is now "secondary to the authority's concern over fundamental flaws in the reform process that are much more significant than timing".

The authority stated that calling for a review of the programme posed "inherent risks", but that a revision could be crucial for the programme's success under incoming commissioner Drew Harris.

Combat

Positives were also highlighted by the authority in its policing performance review, in particular the force's efforts to combat organised crime and preserve life, which are being led by the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

New recruits not receiving driver instruction as part of their basic training was a particular source of frustration for the authority.

In one unit consisting of 26 officers, only one was trained to drive in emergency situations, while two had only basic levels of driver training.

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