herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

No overtime for gardai will have 'major impact'

Gardai have an overtime ban. Stock photo
Gardai have an overtime ban. Stock photo

All garda overtime for regular operations in Dublin has been abolished because the force's budget for 2017 has been "exhausted".

The revelation was made yesterday in a letter by the capital's most senior officer, Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy, to all chief superintendents in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR).

It is understood garda chiefs will meet with Department of Justice officials in the coming week looking for additional funding for overtime.

One division in the city is considering decommissioning its burglary response units and ordering its members to work from stations.

The only exception to the overtime ban was for gardai involved in Operation Hybrid and Operation C-Port.

Operation Hybrid is an initiative designed to provide an armed response to organised crime in the capital, including armed checkpoints.

C-Port is in place to beef up security at Dublin Port and to tackle drugs and other illicit substances being smuggled into the country.

A source told the Herald the overtime ban will have a "major impact" on front-line policing in the next five weeks.

At one division, garda management has been instructed to prioritise duties such as answering phones and manning static posts while detectives are being ordered to "perform outdoor duty only".

Insiders revealed rank-and-file gardai have been left in a state of "complete shock" over the development.

A Garda Representative Association (GRA) source said one city centre station needs around six officers working overtime on a daily basis for the station "just to properly function" because of the lack of officers.

"Regular policing in this city cannot be done without overtime because we simply don't have the numbers," the source said.

Disaster

"For overtime to be abolished in the run-up to Christmas is a really bad idea.

"This is a very busy time for crime, with a traditional major increase in thefts and burglaries.

"With all the alcohol use and misuse, there is also a big increase in assaults, domestic rows and other crimes associated with the party season. This is a disaster."

A statement from the garda press office read: "An Garda Siochana is provided with an annual budget, which is reviewed on a continual basis to ensure we are working within that budget."

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