Home > An Garda Síochána Policing Plan, 2019.

Guiney, Ciara (2020) An Garda Síochána Policing Plan, 2019. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 72, Winter 2020, pp. 20-21.

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An Garda Síochána (AGS) Policing Plan 2019 identifies the main policing concerns for 2019.1 It is the first of three plans proposed by the new Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, that will implement the new AGS Strategy Statement, 2019–2021 through numerous initiatives, which will gradually assist AGS to reach its strategic outcomes.2 The AGS mission for the duration of the strategy is simply ‘keeping people safe’ (p. 1).2 Progress through this strategy will be achieved incrementally by implementing various initiatives through the policing plans annually. Six areas were highlighted by AGS in 2019: community policing; protecting people; a secure Ireland; a human rights foundation; our people – our greatest resource; and transforming our service.1,2 Initiatives related to these areas are highlighted below.


Community policing

The Policing Plan 2019 seeks to introduce a new community policing framework in four Garda divisions in 2019. The locations of the first five divisions to implement this framework were announced on 10 October 2019; these cover Galway, Cork City, Dublin South Central, Meath/Westmeath, and Limerick. AGS also intends to interact and collaborate with communities and stakeholders to determine what their policing needs are and how to achieve them.


Protecting people

AGS aims to provide protection from crime and ensure safety on Irish roads by building AGS capacity to oversee and coordinate how it responds to crime. The intention is to build crime prevention capacity to reduce crime and the fear of crime. In addition, AGS aims to target organised crime groups that hurt communities through violence and the sale or supply of drugs. Moreover, it plans to improve the investigative response to crime by implementing the Investigation Management System and other information and communication technologies.


A secure Ireland

The objective here is to improve security capabilities by implementing recommendations put forward in A policing service for the future.3 For example, AGS intends to carry out intelligence-led operations nationally and internationally to address terrorism. Gardaí will receive specialised training in accordance with international best practice to help them locate and seize finances used for the purpose of terrorism.


Human rights foundation

The Policing Plan 2019 seeks to build a policing infrastructure that is centred on human rights. AGS aims to embed human rights and ethical behaviour into how Gardaí police and specifically deal with criminal justice service users who are vulnerable.


Our people – our greatest resource

People are viewed as AGS’s greatest resource. AGS aims to increase engagement and support and provide opportunities for continuous development. The new People Strategy 2019–2021 will be implemented and will help determine whether Gardaí are in the role most suited to them, in the right place, and at the right time.4 In addition, it is intended to establish a learning culture and to increase leadership capacity via leadership training. Excellent performance will be encouraged and acknowledged. Underperformance and unethical behaviour will be targeted. To support health and wellness, AGS will invest in employees’ wellbeing.


Transforming our service

The Policing Plan 2019 aims to implement a new operational model. The aim is to provide a more effective service, build public confidence via greater accountability and transparency, and improve communication both internally and externally. In addition, AGS plans to re-establish confidence in crime data by working with the Central Statistics Office and by ensuring greater accuracy and governance.


Although drugs are only mentioned by name in the ‘protecting people’ section, it is implied throughout the plan.1 Responsibility for actioning and reporting on the progress of each initiative in the plan has been assigned to an Assistant Commissioner or Executive Director, who will then report to the Garda Commissioner and the Policing Authority once a month. Moreover, key performance indicators will be used to statistically determine that improvement has occurred in several areas, such as public perception, public safety and demand, offender accountability, roads policing, victim engagement, and data quality.1


The Garda Commissioner believes that this plan is ‘ambitious’ but he is ‘committed to delivering a victim centred policing service, focussed on keeping people safe, protecting the most vulnerable and providing a consistently high standard of service’ (p. 2).1 In addition, Commissioner Harris is committed to ‘holding the organisation to account for our performance against this plan. This development of a strong performance culture will be key to ensuring the long-term delivery of progressive organisational change and professional victim focussed services’ (p. 2).1

1          An Garda Síochána Strategic Planning Unit (2019) An Garda Síochána policing plan 2019. Dublin: An Garda Síochána. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/31128/

2          An Garda Síochána (2019) An Garda Síochána strategy statement 2019–2021. Dublin: An Garda Síochána. Available online at: https://www.garda.ie/en/about-us/publications/policing-plans/strategy/garda-strategy-statement-2019-2021-2-1-20.pdf

3          Government of Ireland (2019) A policing service for the future: implementing the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. Dublin: Stationery Office. Available online at: https://www.garda.ie/en/about-us/a-policing-service-for-the-future/implementation-plan.pdf

4          An Garda Síochána (2019) An Garda Síochána people strategy 2019–2021. Dublin: An Garda Síochána. Available online at: https://www.garda.ie/en/about-us/publications/policing-plans/strategy/ags_people-strategy_2019_2021.pdf

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Issue Title
Issue 72, Winter 2020
March 2020
Page Range
pp. 20-21
Health Research Board
Issue 72, Winter 2020

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