The role of the Garda Síochana Inspectorate

The main function of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate is to benchmark the overall policing performance of the Garda Síochána and to promote best practice in all its core operations.  This will help to ensure that the Garda Síochána uses its resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.  


Appointments to Garda Síochána Inspectorate

The Garda Inspectorate consists of 3 members, appointed by the Government under s.115 of the Garda Act 2005 and for a period determined by the Government.

The Government must be satisfied that any person appointed is suitable by reason of his or her service as a senior officer or retired senior officer in the police service of another state, or, having otherwise obtained such relevant experience, qualifications, training or expertise as, in the opinion of the Government, is or are appropriate having regard, in particular, to the functions of the Inspectorate.

At least one of the members shall be a woman and at least one shall be a man.  Members and former members of the Garda Síochána are not eligible to be appointed.


The current Inspectorate consists of:



Mr Mark Toland was appointed Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in November, 2017. Prior to being appointed Chief Inspector, Mark served as a Commissioner at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission between 2016 and 2017and during that time he led a comprehensive whole of organisation review.

Mark previously served as a Deputy Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate from June 2012, a position he held for four and a half years. During that time, he was the lead inspector for several important inspections including the Crime Investigation, Changing Policing in Ireland and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse reports.

He joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1980 where he served for 30 years prior to relocating to Ireland with his family in 2010. At one stage he was responsible for training student officers and managing in excess of 4,000 new recruit officers.

As Chief Superintendent, he spent a total of seven years managing three busy, diverse and challenging London boroughs. While at one of these boroughs, Brent, he led several major undercover operations that dismantled organised criminal gangs that were involved in serious crime. During his career he was also responsible for the security and policing of large scale public order events at Wembley Stadium, Lords Cricket Ground and Twickenham Rugby Stadium.

Mark is passionate about helping the Garda Síochána to enable them to deliver excellent policing services across Ireland, and in particular, to ensure that they protect the most vulnerable and those at most risk of harm.

In 2010 Mark was awarded the Queens Police Medal for distinguished police service. He was awarded a Diploma in Achieving Business Excellence from Newcastle College and completed a research course at Cambridge University.


Ms Pauline Shields was appointed as a Deputy Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in October 2016. Pauline served for 30 years with the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland, in a number of operational and headquarters roles up to and including Chief Superintendent.

In her most recent posting she was responsible for the delivery of uniform policing across PSNI’s South Area, and had a key role in the strategic change programme which led to the most significant restructuring of the PSNI since its creation in 2001. Throughout her career, she has worked extensively to build relationships with partners, communities and their representatives and in doing so, has contributed to improving trust and confidence in policing.

Pauline has been responsible for a number of major operational deployments in her capacity as a Public Order and Firearms Commander. She was the silver commander for the 2013 G8 summit in County Fermanagh, described as the most peaceful summit in its history.
She played a lead role in the delivery of mobile technology and in the Estate Strategy for the PSNI. Pauline also served as a board member on the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust, representing the Chief Constable.

In the 2014 New Year’s honours, Pauline was awarded an OBE for services to policing and the community in Northern Ireland.


Mr. Hugh Hume was appointed as a Deputy Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in November 2017. Prior to his appointment in the Inspectorate, he served as a police officer in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) for almost 3I years.

During his career, Hugh has performed a variety of different policing roles including training, community policing, public order and crime investigation. He was the District Commander in Strabane, Co Tyrone for a period of seven years and served as a D/Superintendent in the Border area.

In March 2011, he was appointed as a Detective Chief Superintendent to the Crime Operations Department. Between that date and his retirement in October 2017, he was in charge of the use of specialist resources including Air Support, Firearms Officers, ANPR, Surveillance and latterly Intelligence.
He was awarded a Bsc (hons) Degree in Policing and Police Studies and studied leadership through programmes managed by Harvard and St Andrews University. Hugh was awarded the Queens Police Medal in 2016 for distinguished police service.



Reports on inspections or inquiries made by the Garda Inspectorate must be submitted to the Minister along with advice with regard to best policing practice and any recommendations for action considered necessary.

Reports must be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.


Further information:

Garda Síochána Inspectorate website