206. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice if the audio recordings in respect of the cancellation of 999 calls and computer-aided despatch are being preserved and all essential data which illustrates the scope and the scale of this matter will be preserved to enable any reviews that are taking place. [51670/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I am informed by the Garda authorities that all 999/112 emergency calls for service to An Garda Síochána are answered at the four Garda Regional Communications Centres/Rooms. As per Garda policy and procedures, 999/112 emergency calls for service are recorded and retained for a period of seven years. I am further informed that recorded call data can be extracted and stored separately for the purpose of specific investigations when required.
As the Deputy will be aware, I consider any inappropriate cancellation of 999 calls a very serious matter. This falls significantly below the high standards that the public expect from the Gardaí and the high standards that An Garda Síochána set for themselves. I am particularly concerned that anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or indeed anyone in a vulnerable position, who summoned the courage to seek assistance may not have received it.
The Policing Authority was asked by Minister McEntee to oversee the review being carried by An Garda Síochána in relation to this matter, and there have been a number of engagements between the Authority and An Garda Síochána since March of this year.
I share the Authority and the Commissioner's concern about the continuation of what appear to be inappropriate cancellation and classification of calls since the introduction of the new procedures. These circumstances will of course be considered by the Authority as part of their continuing oversight of the Garda review of this matter, and will be taken into account in the work being carried out by an external policing expert who has been appointed to assist the Authority in this task. I await the outcome of the Authority's work in this regard.
I will of course consider any recommendations the Authority choses to make regarding the future management of these matters.