Minister McEntee publishes Garda Inspectorate report ‘Countering the Threat of Internal Corruption – A review of counter-corruption structures, strategies and processes in the Garda Síochána’
- Minister welcomes report as positive contribution to ensuring the highest standards of integrity in An Garda Síochána
- Minister welcomes establishment of dedicated Anti-Corruption Unit in An Garda Síochána which will help to deliver these recommendations
- Report has been referred to Garda Commissioner for detailed consideration and a full response to each recommendation
- Implementation plan to be developed by the autumn, in line with Minister McEntee’s Justice Plan 2021
25 March 2021
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today published the Garda Inspectorate report “Countering the Threat of Internal Corruption - A review of counter-corruption structures, strategies and processes in the Garda Síochána”. The purpose of the inspection was to examine the effectiveness of An Garda Síochána at preventing, detecting and mitigating against the threat of internal corruption.
In line with Minister McEntee’s Justice Plan 2021 an implementation plan following on from the Garda Inspectorate report will be published by the autumn. The publication of the Garda Inspectorate report was also an action in Minister McEntee’s Justice Plan 2021.
Minister McEntee said,
“I would like to thank the Garda Inspectorate for their commitment, thoroughness and hard work in producing this report. The report provides a detailed examination of every aspect of An Garda Síochána’s efforts to counter the risk of corruption within the organisation. It is a report of substance and makes an important contribution to the ongoing work aimed at modernising An Garda Síochána and ensuring the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour are embedded across the organisation”.
In total the report makes thirty four recommendations, the majority of which are directed at An Garda Síochána. Commenting on the three recommendations directed at her Department Minister McEntee said,
“These are important, positive recommendations which have the potential to greatly strengthen how the threat of corruption is dealt with in An Garda Síochána and to develop a shared understanding of the threat of corruption across the broader Criminal Justice sector. I have asked my officials to consider the report, particularly those recommendations directed at my Department, and to consult with An Garda Síochána and other bodies as appropriate to progress these recommendations and produce a detailed response and implementation plan”.
The report highlights the abuse of power for sexual gain as an emerging corruption issue for police services worldwide and one which potentially has profound human rights implications for victims, the Garda organisation and the criminal justice sector.
The Minister added,
“I am particularly focussed on addressing weaknesses identified by the Inspectorate in relation to abuse of power for sexual gain. This type of behaviour is abhorrent and any risk of it arising cannot be tolerated in our police service. As a community we look to An Garda Síochána to offer us protection when we need it most and it is crucial that victims of crime feel safe and secure in their interactions with An Garda Síochána.
“It is vital that An Garda Síochána develops appropriate structures, policies and intelligence capabilities to prevent this type of behaviour. My Department will work closely with An Garda Síochána and other relevant agencies in the criminal justice sector to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to address weaknesses in this area”.
Other areas in which recommendations are made include professional boundaries; conflicts of interest/business interests; substance testing; vetting, discontinued court cases and the operation of the statutory exemption from fixed charge penalties in emergency situations.
The report also highlights the important role dedicated Anti-Corruption Units can play in addressing the threat of corruption. Referring to this, Minister McEntee said,
“The establishment of a dedicated Anti-Corruption Unit has been a priority for Commissioner Harris and is also one of the key actions under ‘A Policing Service for our Future’, the implementation plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. I am pleased to note that the new Garda Anti-Corruption Unit has now been established and that it will play a significant role in implementing the Inspectorate recommendations”.
The Department of Justice has written to the Garda Commissioner to ask him to outline how he plans to progress the recommendations in the report for An Garda Síochána which the Department will then combine with a response and implementation plan in relation to its own recommendations, all of which will be published by the autumn.
Note for Editors
The full report, including executive summary, can be read online at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Garda_Insp_Report-Countering_Threat_of_Internal_Corruption
The purpose of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate (GSI) is to ensure that the resources available to An Garda Síochána (AGS) are used efficiently and effectively. This is achieved by carrying out inspections and measuring performance by reference to the best standards of comparable police services.
This report Countering the Threat of Internal Corruption is the first self-initiated inspection conducted by the Garda Inspectorate and was selected as a topic for inspection following consultations with a number of key stakeholders including An Garda Síochána, the Policing Authority and the Department of Justice.
The Report makes 34 recommendations of which 30 are directed at AGS, three at the Department of Justice and one at the Department of Transport.
The three recommendations for the Department of Justice are:
- Recommendation 1 - Strategic Threat and Risk Assessment: The Department should develop a strategic understanding of the risk of internal corruption across the criminal justice sector with the objective of developing an overarching strategy and multi-agency approach to the management of the corruption threats.
- Recommendation 12 - Post-Employment Activities: The Department should carry out a review of post-employment activities of the Garda workforce, and develop suitable rules and processes to reduce the risk of any conflicts of interest arising after they leave the organisation.
- Recommendation 27 - External Investigation: The Department should implement the necessary statutory framework (in line with the State’s obligations under the Convention relating to effective independent investigation) to ensure that all instances of conduct linked to sexual violence or abuse of power for sexual gain arising from the actions of a member of the Garda workforce acting in their professional capacity, which could result in a breach of an individual’s rights under Article 2 or Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights are referred for independent investigation.