Home > An Garda Síochána Policing Plan 2016.

Guiney, Ciara (2017) An Garda Síochána Policing Plan 2016. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 60, Winter 2017, pp. 22-23.

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An Garda Síochána Policing Plan 2016 identifies the policing commitments for 2016.1 The focus of the plan is to protect communities and individuals in Ireland from risk and harm connected with crime, drugs, and domestic-related crime (e.g. burglaries and domestic violence). A number of areas have been identified as priorities for An Garda Síochána in 2016: national security and intelligence; national policing; community safety; and cross organisation services.


National security and intelligence

The key objective of this priority is to defend the interests of Ireland by alleviating threats from terrorists by implementing a number of strategies, such as the International Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Cyber Security Strategy, and the joint Cross-Border Policing Strategy. In addition, the development of partnerships with policing and security organisations in Ireland and oversees will enable An Garda Síochána to contribute to worldwide security. Renewed attention will be placed on the management of intelligence and will result in the establishment of intelligence management systems in units nationwide. In preparation and in alignment with the framework for major emergency management, a strategy will be put forward to ensure that Ireland is ready for major emergencies should they arise. A contribution will also be made to the National Major Emergency Response Group.


National policing

The overall aim of the Irish policing service is to prevent all types of crime, for example organised and cross-border crime, which includes human trafficking, prostitution, burglary, drug-related crime, white collar crime, and crimes against business and agriculture. Domestic and sexual violence and crimes against children will continue to be targeted and investigated by An Garda Síochána. In order to provide enhanced protection for children, tools for risk assessment and risk management frameworks will be developed. This will allow Gardaí to identify the level of risk to which victims of sexual and domestic violence are exposed.


With the aim of averting and exposing crime, national anti-crime strategies, such as Operation Thor, will continue to play an important role in reducing crime. The investigation of crimes will be reinforced by the ongoing development and implementation of IT systems, such as the major investigations management system (MIMS).


The intention is to make victims of crime the focus of policing services, which is in alignment with the EU Directive on Victims Rights2 and the Criminal Justice (Rights of Victims) Bill.3 The ability to respond and manage incidents will therefore be developed by:

  • enhancing computer-aided dispatch (CAD)
  • developing strategies in the control room with the aim of improving service and contact response rates with the public, and
  • being more efficient in the capture, collation and review of data collected. 

Interagency collaboration is viewed as an essential component of addressing and managing repeat offending, and includes ongoing development of the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme, implementation of the Strategic Approach to Offender Recidivism (SAOR) and the Joint Agency Response to Crime (J-ARC) initiative.


Community safety

The Policing Plan 2016 seeks to build on public safety by setting out a new community policing framework and a new crime prevention strategy. The intention is to avail of ‘local policing fora’ and joint policing committees (p. 9). Additionally, another priority is to build positive partnerships with community groups that may be diverse, at risk or difficult to reach. The aim is for Gardaí to be more visible within the community, which should result in greater detection and prevention of public disorder, antisocial behaviour, and illegal consumption of alcohol in public places. In order to improve communication, the Garda Communications Strategy, which aims to improve communication within the organisation, the State and the general public, will be implemented.


Safety on Irish roads is also targeted. Enforcement and education are viewed as important contributors to increasing safety on roads and within communities. Recommendations put forward by the Garda Inspectorate in their report on fixed charges will result in greater efficiency and more accountability.4 Additionally, it has been proposed to implement more automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology, as this will allow Garda to ‘track and target’ offenders (p. 9).


Cross organisation services

The final objective of the Policing Plan 2016 is to ensure that resources used in the delivery of a professional policing and security service are effective and efficient. The main objectives to be delivered include:

  • Optimising the development and deployment of skills and human resources across the organisation. This will include delivery of a Human Resource and People Development Strategy, revising recruitment, selection and internal appointment procedures as well as the identification and implementation of technology suitable for monitoring performance and development.
  • Developing strong governance and leadership throughout the organisation. The goal is to develop and implement a corporate governance framework delineated in accordance with best practice. Additionally, other initiatives to be applied include standardised approaches for the performance and accountability framework (PAF), the Garda transformation programme, performance management systems, inspection and review processes, policy frameworks, and risk management.
  • Instilling a culture of continuous improvement via education, training, and development. The aim is to determine how the core vocational and operational training is to be strategically measured and quantified with a view to evaluating how they compare with the current continuous professional development structures already in place.
  • Identifying the core functionality of the service in order to make bureaucratic processes easier and thus moving towards leaner administrative systems.
  • Working in partnership with the Garda Inspectorate, Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and the Policing Authority to implement recommendations and feedback.
  • Addressing effective management of expenditure by targeting how financial resources are managed to support policing, fleet investment, and tenders for outsourced services (e.g. medical, uniforms, construction of two facilities for evidence and property).
  • Working in partnership with local, national and international agencies, including academia and agencies, will increase collaboration resulting in stronger connections with partner agencies.                     

Although the Policing Plan 2016 outlines numerous changes and areas for development, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan argues that ‘policing [in this way] will be delivered differently with the aim of providing the country with a world class police service. But what won’t change is An Garda Síochána’s unstinting commitment to protecting communities and this State’ (p. 4). 



  1. An Garda Síochána (2016) An Garda Síochana Policing Plan 2016. Available online at https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/25794/
  2. Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA.
  3. The Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill (unpublished). Relevant Dáil debates available online at http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie
  4. Garda Inspectorate. (2014) Report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate. Crime investigation. Dublin: Garda Inspectorate. Available online at https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/22967/  
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Issue Title
Issue 60, Winter 2017
January 2017
Page Range
pp. 22-23
Health Research Board
Issue 60, Winter 2017

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